Securities Decisions and Freeze and cease trade orders
Montréal – Today, before the Court of Québec (Criminal and Penal Division), district of Montréal, Mr. Justice Claude Leblond found Vincent Lacroix guilty of the 51 charges filed against him by the Autorité des marchés financiers (the “AMF”) on March 9, 2006. “We are satisfied with the guilty verdict against Vincent Lacroix,” said AMF President and CEO Jean St-Gelais.
A significant step forward was taken today. The next step will be to ask for an exemplary sentence against Vincent Lacroix during the sentencing submissions,” Mr. St-Gelais stated. He described economic crimes as serious and detrimental to investors and society at large. As such, penalties in line with the seriousness of the offence should be imposed. According to Mr. St-Gelais, sanctions must deliver the maximum deterrent effect in order to send a clear message. “Vincent Lacroix misappropriated the funds of thousands of investors. He is contemptuous of investors and institutions alike. Moreover, far from expressing any regret for his conduct, he publicly claims that he is being victimized. The message must be clear. It is unacceptable for defrauders to have an easy ride,” added Mr. St-Gelais.
Satisfied with the decision handed down by Mr. Justice Leblond, Mr. St-Gelais took the opportunity to underscore the excellent work of the investigators, lawyers and other experts who presented overwhelming evidence of Mr. Lacroix’s guilt.
Mr. St-Gelais reiterated that the AMF’s priority has always been to return as much money as possible to defrauded investors and that numerous initiatives had been undertaken to do so. “We must never forget that 9,200 people have lost nearly $130 million. It’s for them that we must pursue our efforts,” declared Mr. St-Gelais.
Lastly, Mr. St-Gelais pointed out that the decision by Mr. Justice Leblond was a penal decision and that the AMF had been very careful in filing penal charges under the Securities Act so as not to hinder any criminal proceedings that might be launched by the Integrated Market Enforcement Team (IMET).
Vincent Lacroix faced 51 charges of violating the Securities Act by influencing or attempting to influence the market price or the value of securities by means of unfair, improper or fraudulent practices (27 counts) and by providing the AMF with documents containing misrepresentations, in particular financial statements, annual reports and annual information forms (24 counts).
The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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Frédéric Alberro (514) 940-2176