National News

Man fined $2 million for defrauding investors

By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The BC Securities Commission says a man who defrauded investors out of $643,000 by selling shares in a ski resort has been fined $2 million and permanently banned from the province's markets.

In a ruling released Friday, the commission said Robert McHaffie enticed 30 people to invest in the Bigfoot resort, which he claimed would be built in the mountains east of Chilliwack.

McHaffie was one of several Bigfoot directors, but only he was involved in distributing shares between August 2007 and January 2012, the commission said.

The commission's written decision said McHaffie told investors the resort's completion was "just around the corner."

"This was after 2010, when the government of British Columbia rejected his proposal to build a ski hill," the decision said.

McHaffie also told investors the funds would cover legal fees to have the shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and that the public listing was imminent.

"These were all lies," the ruling said, adding Bigfoot did not remotely meet the exchange's listing requirements.

"In fact, McHaffie used investors' funds for purposes other than developing and building the resort. He deposited the investors' funds in his personal bank account and spent it on personal expenses such as groceries, gas and retail purchases."

There is no evidence the investors will recover any of their money.

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