Montréal - On February 4, 2011, at the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers (the AMF), the Bureau de décision et de révision (the Bureau) issued cease trade and freeze orders in connection with the activities of Alain Péloquin<a href="#1" 1 and prohibited him from acting as a dealer or adviser.
Péloquin recruited investors, either directly or through team leaders, by telling them he had a contact in the federal government that allowed him to purchase and sell assets for profit that were seized by the government but before they were put up for sale at auction. The Bureau found that the investments were investment contracts that are subject to the Securities Act.
More specifically, the Bureau prohibited Alain Péloquin, Isabelle Cantin,<a href="#2" 2 his de facto spouse, Stéphane Auclair and Jean-Luc Flipo, who were team leaders, from carrying on transactions in respect of any form of investment, including activities as a securities dealer or adviser. It also ordered Alain Péloquin and Isabelle Cantin not to dispose of the funds, securities or other assets in their possession. Finally, the Bureau ordered Me Jean-Marc Lavallée not to dispose of such funds, securities or other assets that he may be holding in his account in trust for Alain Péloquin or Isabelle Cantin.
In its request, the AMF asked the Bureau to intervene quickly because it is feared that the funds would be wasted or distributed unfairly among investors and that solicitation activities would continue.
In its decision, the Bureau was concerned about certain allegations and facts presented by the AMF, in particular:
- There are 147 investors in total and this made it possible to raise over $12 million, according to Mr. Péloquin's statements.
- The money was raised and investors were solicited without a prospectus and without an exemption being granted.
- None of the respondents are registered with the AMF as securities dealers or advisers. Péloquin admitted that he knew he could not solicit investors without being registered as a dealer.
- The manner in which the money was raised resembled a pyramid scheme.
- Péloquin told investors on several occasions that everything must be kept strictly secret and confidential, and he frequently spoke about security in the matter. In this way, he avoided having to report to investors about the true status of their investments.
- One investor was offered a return of 100% over a period of one month, which is very high. Furthermore, the investor was told that the investment was safe and guaranteed.
- Péloquin also told investors that the AMF had checked the transactions, although this was completely false. This could have given the investors a feeling of trust in their investments.
- To date, evidence obtained by the AMF does not show that any actual investments were made with the money collected.
- The AMF's investigation revealed that some of the money raised from investors transited through the bank accounts of Péloquin and Cantin, as well as through Me Lavallee's trust account.
- The money collected was used for the personal expenses of Péloquin and Cantin.
- There was evidence of a Ponzi scheme given that money collected from investors was used to reimburse other investors.
- In the space of a few days in December 2010, Péloquin succeeded in collecting $135,000 from investors by asking them for assistance by e-mail.
The Autorité des marchés financiers ("AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial industry.
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Sylvain Théberge: 514-940-2176
Québec City: 418-525-0337
2Respondent Isabelle Cantin should not be confused with representative in personal insurance and representative of mutual fund dealer Isabelle Cantin of Services d'Assurance I.G. inc. (Boucherville) and Investors Group Inc., holder of certificate No. 187322, NRD registration 2557641, who is not affected by these orders.