Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Missing B.C. Investment Dealer and Former Olympian Investigated for Fraud

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Missing B.C. Investment Dealer and Former Olympian Investigated for Fraud

Article excerpt

Fraud probe into missing investment dealer

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VANCOUVER - A missing investment dealer and former Canadian Olympic rower has had his licence terminated by a mutual funds company in the midst of its fraud investigation, one of at least three probes in the case.

Investia Financial Services Inc. is investigating Harold Backer, who hasn't been seen since Nov. 3 and is also the subject of two missing-persons investigations -- in his hometown of Victoria and in Washington state.

"As soon as we knew the situation, that Mr. Backer had disappeared, we started the investigation," said Investia spokesman Pierre Picard from Quebec City.

"Mr. Backer failed to follow our policies and procedures, which required him to disclose all outside business activities," the company said in a statement issued by Picard.

He said the investigation was also prompted by a letter Backer sent to some clients, in which he apologized for mismanaging their money, and the company's discussions "with affected clients."

"Investia has terminated Mr. Backer's registration due to a fraud investigation," the statement said.

The Victoria Police Department has said Backer, 52, told his wife on Nov. 3 that he was going for a bike ride but failed to return home.

Police in Port Angeles, Wash., said last week that an officer who viewed video from a street security camera for that day noted a man fitting Backer's description was aboard a ferry from Victoria, a 90-minute trip away.

Backer, who competed in rowing in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, had 20 clients with Investia.

The company said it had contacted all of them, that money related to their registered accounts is intact and they were issued regular statements.

However, Backer had other dealings on the side, Investia's investigation has revealed.

"Some clients have confirmed that they had personally invested with Mr. Backer and wrote cheques directly to My Financial Backer Corp., as far back as 1996.

"These monies never flowed through Investia," the company said, adding it is co-operating with police and regulatory investigations.

Backer has been a representative for Investia since June 2005. …

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