Decisions and Freeze and cease trade orders Securities
Montréal – Yves Tardif, Éric Couture and Larraine Little were recently found guilty of the charges laid against them by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) for violating the Securities Act in connection with the Mount Real matter.
Hefty fine imposed on Yves Tardif
On April 29, 2010, Judge Michel Bellehumeur of the Court of Québec, district of Montréal, imposed fines totalling $453,000 on Yves Tardif.
Yves Tardif had pleaded guilty to 90 charges brought against him by the AMF for illegally acting as a securities dealer and/or adviser, aiding Mount Real Acceptance Corporation and Investment Real Vest Ltd. with illegal distributions, and making misrepresentations by telling investors that their investments were guaranteed.
The 21 investors involved lost in excess of $3,000,000 in principal and interest. In its decision, the Court noted the consequences of the accused's actions on investors. "Losing one's savings and all this money had a major impact on all the victims. They feel ashamed, insecure, uncertain and powerless, to say nothing of how their lives have been turned upside down and changed forever. These are just some of the psychological and emotional scars left on the victims, who average around 60 years of age," noted Judge Bellehumeur.
Judge Bellehumeur handed down a powerful judgment on illegal practice and distributions: "If we don't have the ability, training, tools, legal papers, background or even the professional interest to act as a securities adviser or dealer, we shouldn't. When we agree, as the accused did, to invest someone else's money, advise clients and give information about guaranteed investments, we have the responsibility to do a modicum of checking, which apparently was not done in this case."
In his analysis, Judge Bellehumeur was especially harsh in his criticism of Yves Tardif's conduct: "Riding the wave using other people's money is criminal. Yves Tardif repeatedly acted with negligence. The company's officers could not have operated as long as they did without having, as they did, sellers who 'turned a blind eye or were complaisant'. As a main cog in the machine who did not question its workings, he deserves hefty penalties."
Éric Couture and Larraine Little convicted
Two other representatives charged in the Mount Real matter, Éric Couture and Larraine Little, were also found guilty. Éric Couture pleaded guilty to three charges of aiding with an illegal distribution and making misrepresentations and was fined a total of $15,000. Larraine Little pleaded guilty to 31 charges. Sentencing representations in her case have been postponed to October 21, 2010.
On January 24, 2007, the AMF filed 619 charges against 24 individuals who acted as representatives in the matter of Mount Real Corporation and its subsidiaries. To date, eight individuals (Victor Lacroix, Armando Ferruci, Christophe Balayer, Luigi Muro, Anthony Cappellano (under appeal), Éric Couture, Larraine Little and Yves Tardif) have been found guilty on 266 charges and fined a total of $1,270,000.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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