Montréal - On February 24, 2015, Judge Nathalie Duperron Roy, Justice of the Peace of the Court of Québec, district of Saint-Jérôme, imposed a prison term of six months and fines totalling $419,220 on Alain Côté1 as well as fines totalling $382,500 on his company, ACGI inc. On June 27, 2014, the respondents were declared guilty on 185 counts related to illegal distribution.
In determining the sentence, the Judge considered numerous factors, including the loss of approximately $400,000 incurred by the 27 investors through fraud, abuse of trust, the fact that the offences were committed over more than two years, and misappropriation of funds.
The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") accused Alain Côté of pursuing illegal activities as a dealer (51 counts), aiding ACGI inc. with conducting distributions without a prospectus (51 counts) and giving an undertaking relating to the future value of ACGI securities (32 counts). As for ACGI inc., it faced 51 counts of distribution without a prospectus.
The AMF investigation revealed that Alain Côté approached investors who entrusted a minimum of $5,000 to him for clients needing short-term cash, for a return on investment of approximately 10% per month. The investors gave Mr. Côté a cheque or bank draft. The cheque was made to the order of ACGI inc., of which Alain Côté was the founder and sole shareholder.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial sector.
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1 The respondent Alain Côté should not be confused with Alain Côté who holds certificate No. 107 842 in insurance of persons and financial planning with Cabinet Croissance Capital Inc. and registration as a dealing representative (mutual fund dealer) with Mérici Services financiers Inc.
As well, the respondent Alain Côté should not be confused with Alain Côté who holds certificate No. 152 329 in insurance of persons with London Life Insurance Company and registration as a dealing representative (mutual fund dealer) with Services d'investissements Quadrus Ltée.