Alleged fraudster from Abbotsford arrested in Ontario for Ponzi scheme

A former Abbotsford man who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for allegedly operating a fraudulent investment scheme has been arrested in Mississauga, Ont.

A former Abbotsford man who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for allegedly operating a fraudulent investment scheme has been arrested in Mississauga, Ont.

Malcolm Cameron Boyd Stevenson, 55, was arrested March 21 by the E division RCMP commercial crime section. He is now in custody in B.C. awaiting trial on charges of fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000, next appearing in Vancouver provincial court on May 2.

He was also previously charged with contravening the Securities Act, but a trial scheduled for March 2010 was delayed, and a new date will be set.

The warrant for Stevenson’s arrest was issued earlier this year. It is believed he was living outside of Canada, and he was arrested at Pearson International Airport while trying to re-enter the country.

The arrest stems from an investigation into an investment vehicle called the International Fiduciary Corporation (IFC), which operated between 2004 and 2006.

It is alleged that the program bilked Canadian investors out of an estimated $37 million and was run by Stevenson; another Abbotsford man, Daniel Eric Byer; and a resident of Virginia, Preston Pinkett II.

Pinkett, 72, was arrested in the U.S., pleaded guilty in December 2008 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and was sentenced the following year to 24 months in prison.

Byer has not been criminally charged, according to the provincial court database.

The B.C. Securities Commission (BCSS) in February 2008 ordered the three men to pay $12.7 million to the courts for operating a scheme that bilked 143 investors – 89 from B.C. – out of millions of dollars.

The trio were also ordered to pay $4 million in administrative penalties and were

permanently banned from trading or from being involved in any capacity in the securities market.

The BCSS said the IFC scheme promised investors a return of six per cent per month through an “asset growth program.” This involved IFC purchasing “first tier medium term bank notes” and then selling them for a profit.

The BCSS said the asset growth program did not exist. Instead, the three men used the money “to enrich themselves and keep the scheme going” by shifting money from new investors to older investors in a Ponzi cycle, according to the BCSS.

B.C. investors alone were swindled out of $23.3 million, receiving payments of only $10.3 million in return, the BCSS said.

It is alleged that Stevenson and Byer solicited potential investors, while Pinkett opened bank accounts in Arlington, Virginia and transferred the investors’ funds.

A total of $8 million in IFC bank accounts was seized to disperse among investors who had claims.