Abbotsford man sentenced for Security Act offences

John Briner ordered to pay $1,000 fine on five counts

John Briner

An Abbotsford man who was charged last year with nine counts of contravening the B.C. Securities Act has been fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to five of those charges.

John David Briner, 38, issued the guilty pleas on Feb. 9 in Vancouver provincial court and was fined $200 on each count. The four other counts were stayed.

Briner, a former securities lawyer in Vancouver who lives in Abbotsford, was charged in March 2015 for failing to comply with a ban issued by the B.C. Securities Commission.

His difficulties with the authorities date back to 2009, when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in court, saying Briner participated in a fraudulent scheme to artificially inflate the market for shares in a penny stock company.

Briner reached an agreement with the SEC that included a five-year ban from acting as an officer or director of any issuer and participating in any offering of penny stocks. He was also given a $25,000 civil penalty and ordered to pay back another $52,000.

Following the agreement with the SEC, the B.C. Securities Commission also issued Briner a five-year ban in 2011.

In July 2014, the Law Society of B.C.found that Briner committed professional misconduct when he misappropriated more than $50,000 from a client. He was disbarred in November of last year following a hearing into the matter.

Briner again became the subject of SEC action in January 2015, when the commission alleged that he orchestrated a scheme which entailed creating shell companies supposedly exploring mining activities.

He was still under his five-year ban from the SEC at the time.

The matter was settled last September, when Briner consented to an order that permanently prohibits him from acting an an officer or director of any issuer and bans him from participating in any offering of a penny stock.

He also agreed to pay back almost $22,000 in gains and $50,000 in civil penalties.

At the time the criminal charges were laid, Briner was involved in starting a “seed library” in Abbotsford which invited the public to trade extra seeds for non-organic, non-GMO and heritage seeds.

He is also a co-founder of the Aldergrove-based Music Access Society, a non-profit group that provides music instruction to kids in Aldergrove, Langley and Abbotsford who otherwise can’t afford it.