Two Lower Mainland residents will have to pay a total of $141,500 in financial sanctions after taking part in a U.S.-based Ponzi and pyramid scheme that raised about US $15 million from more than 1,400 investors around the world.
Monita Hung Mui Chan, of Burnaby, and Marie-Joy Vincent, of Surrey, raised a total of US $331,400 from 52 investors, according to a release from the B.C. Securities Commission.
The BCSC said Chan also recruited other people to promote the business in B.C., while Vincent “encouraged people she raised money from to promote the investments to their friends.”
The scheme, according to the BCSC, involved selling membership units in Massachusetts-based DFRF Enterprises LLC and Florida-based DFRF Enterprises, LLC. Investors were promised “extraordinarily high no-risk returns in the entities’ supposedly lucrative gold mining operations.”
“In reality, the entities did not have any gold reserves, and their only source of money was investors.”
The BCSC said the scheme was orchestrated in 2014 and 2015 by Daniel Rojo Fernandes Filho, a Brazilian national living in Florida. The release adds the U.S. federal courts ruled in 2019 that Filho and several others committed securities fraud.
In their settlement agreements with the BCSC, Chan and Vincent “admitted that they participated in the scheme in B.C. by assisting Filho when they should have known that his claims were false.”
Chan must pay $135,000 to the BCSC, while Vincent must pay $6,500 to the BCSC as she “did not profit from the misconduct, and all of the money she raised she paid directly to Filho.”
Chan has a 10-year prohibition and Vincent has an eight-year prohibition on:
• trading in or purchasing securities or exchange contracts (with some limited exceptions),
• becoming or acting as a director or officer of any reporting issuer or registrant,
• becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter,
• acting in a management or consultative capacity in connection with activities in the securities market,
• and engaging in promotional activities.
The BCSC says a hearing into allegations against other B.C. residents involved in the scheme began April 19.