Conviction in Ponzi scheme upheld
A Calgary man jailed in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in Canadian history has failed in his attempt to have his conviction overturned.
Milowe Brost was sentenced to 12 years in prison for an elaborate, multimillion-dollar fraud in which investors were promised unrealistic returns.
He was also found guilty of money laundering.
He was convicted along with his business partner Gary Sorenson.
Lawyers for Brost had argued that he should have been granted a mistrial when Sorenson, who was representing himself, admitted to jurors in his final submission that he used investment funds in a fishing lodge.
The Alberta Court of Appeal said even if it was a confession, it didn’t point to wrongdoing by Brost.
“He did not implicate the appellant and used the prepositions ”I“and ”me“11 times in this particular passage,” the judges wrote of Sorenson’s submission. The judges also rejected arguments that Justice Robert Hall should not have removed a sick juror and that he erred in his charge to the jury.
“The appellant has failed to establish how the conduct of the trial by his self-represented co-accused ... amounted to a miscarriage of justice. He has not represented any reviewable error underlying the conviction and the appeal is dismissed.”
The trial of Sorenson and Brost heard more than 2,400 investors from around the world lost up to $200 million in total. Police have estimated the figure could be as high as $400 million. Many people lost their life savings.
Investors were promised a 34 per cent annual return on a “low-risk” investment of $99,000, which was supposed to grow to just over $1 million within eight years. They were told the business involved selling gold for refining.