WHERE’S THE MONEY?

Dar­lene Saxinger is wor­ried she has lost $37,000 that she in­vested through saska­toon fi­nan­cial ad­viser Vince Mullee, who has been or­dered to stop trad­ing se­cu­ri­ties. there are al­le­ga­tions more than a dozen in­vestors have lost at least $2 mil­lion.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - ALEX MACPHER­SON amacpher­son@post­media.com twit­ter.com/macpher­sona

Dar­lene Saxinger wants some an­swers.

The sin­gle mother from Saska­toon wants to know what hap­pened to the $37,000 she signed over to Vin­cent John Mullee, her par­ents’ trusted fi­nan­cial ad­viser, for him to invest in the bond mar­ket.

Saxinger also wants to know why the fi­nan­cial com­pany that spon­sored Mullee ap­peared to dis­tance it­self from him af­ter it emerged that he is al­leged to have taken $2.1 mil­lion from more than a dozen in­vestors.

“I feel very mad. I feel an­gry. Be­cause these are se­niors, peo­ple in their 70s and 80s, that (he) preyed on. I’m prob­a­bly the youngest per­son that’s in­volved,” she said.

Six weeks ago, in re­sponse to the al­le­ga­tions, Saskatchewan’s Fi­nan­cial and Con­sumer Af­fairs Au­thor­ity (FCAA) or­dered Mullee and his com­pany, Vince Mullee Fi­nan­cial Inc., to cease trad­ing se­cu­ri­ties.

The FCAA’s se­cu­ri­ties di­vi­sion said in a news re­lease that it ap­pears Mullee sold non-ex­is­tent bonds to mul­ti­ple in­vestors through his com­pany, and then used the money for per­sonal and cor­po­rate pur­poses.

At the time, Mullee was an in­de­pen­dent ad­viser for Cal­gary-based WealthCo Inc. He did not re­spond to mul­ti­ple StarPhoenix re­quests for com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion.

Saxinger is at least the sec­ond per­son to come for­ward with con­cerns about Mullee. Quot­ing Saxinger’s brother Bryan Hnatiw, CBC News re­ported last week that the Saska­toon-based ad­viser al­legedly sold her father Ted Hnatiw $250,000 worth of fake bonds.

In an in­ter­view, Bryan Hnatiw con­firmed the ac­count he gave to the broad­caster. Copies of fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments show Ted Hnatiw in­vested more than $250,000 over three years into one of the bonds the FCAA says does not ex­ist.

The doc­u­ments show that both Saxinger and Hnatiw wrote their cheques to Vince Mullee Fi­nan­cial Inc. — a risky move, ac­cord­ing to the FCAA, which urges in­vestors to only make their cheques out to reg­is­tered se­cu­ri­ties deal­ers.

Saxinger said writ­ing the cheques to Mullee’s com­pany seemed strange and caused her to hes­i­tate, but she ul­ti­mately wrote them based on her par­ents’ years of ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with the fi­nan­cial ad­viser.

Nine months later, WealthCo sent Saxinger’s father a let­ter say­ing its con­tract with Mullee had been ter­mi­nated, and it was “not re­spon­si­ble for the ac­tions of our Cana­dian In­de­pen­dent Ad­vi­sors, or the prod­ucts and ser­vices they pro­vide not as­so­ci­ated with WealthCo. Inc.”

The let­ter, a copy of which was pro­vided to the Saska­toon StarPhoenix, did not say why the con­tract was ended.

Saxinger said she did not re­ceive a sim­i­lar let­ter from WealthCo. She then called the se­cu­ri­ties dealer through which Mullee had ap­par­ently in­vested her $37,000, only to find out “they ’d never heard of me,” she said.

Saxinger and her brother Bryan ques­tion why WealthCo should not be re­spon­si­ble for Mullee’s ac­tions, given that he worked out of a WealthCo-branded of­fice in Saska­toon and used the com­pany ’s let­ter­head.

“For all in­tents and pur­poses (Mullee) rep­re­sented WealthCo,” Hnatiw said.

In an email, WealthCo Chief Oper­a­tions Of­fi­cer So­phie Blais said the com­pany learned of “po­ten­tial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties” on June 21 and, four days later af­ter ex­am­in­ing the facts, ter­mi­nated Mullee’s se­cu­ri­ties li­cense spon­sor­ship and all deal­ings with him.

Blais said Mullee was an in­de­pen­dent bro­ker and worked with mul­ti­ple or­ga­ni­za­tions.

While those firms are re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing com­pli­ance with pro­vin­cial se­cu­ri­ties law, “com­pli­ance can­not be ap­plied to the 'prod­ucts’ sold to those af­fected by (Mullee) due to the fact that they are/were non-ex­is­tent,” she said.

“All mon­eys in­volved in these al­le­ga­tions re­late to cheques writ­ten di­rectly to Mr. Mullee’s com­pany, Vince Mullee Fi­nan­cial Inc. None of the funds in ques­tion were made payable to WealthCo and WealthCo was not in­volved in any of the trans­ac­tions in ques­tion.”

Hnatiw said there does not ap­pear to be a clear process for re­solv­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

I feel very mad. I feel an­gry. Be­cause these are se­niors, peo­ple in their 70s and 80s that (he) preyed on.

MATT OL­SON

MATT OL­SON

Dar­lene Saxinger had con­fi­dence in Vin­cent John Mullee be­cause her par­ents had dealt with him. Now, he’s been or­dered to stop trad­ing se­cu­ri­ties and she fears she has lost the $37,000 she in­vested through him.

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