Exec gets eight more years
Eight more years have been added to disgraced former London businessperson Robert Vanier’s prison sentence, this time for filing a false prospectus for his failed company.
Already, Vanier, the former pitchman for Onco Petroleum with a shady criminal past, is serving three years after he was found guilty of two counts of perjury last summer for lying on sworn documents about the value of his company.
All his convictions related to his attempts to get the company’s stock publicly traded after collecting about $30 million from 1,400 investors from Ontario, Quebec and the United States.
Vanier was sentenced last week by Superior Court Justice Sean Dunphy after he was found guilty by a jury following a lengthy trial in Toronto this fall.
It took five years to get the case to trial. Vanier was charged in November 2013 following an RCMP criminal investigation into the company that promised to reactivate natural gas wells across Southwestern Ontario.
Vanier traded on swagger and his celebrity connections to hockey players and others. Investors didn’t know about his many brushes with the law.
He was born Carl Gagnon, a Quebecer who played hockey for the Shawinigan Dynamos in 1973-74.
He collected more than 60 criminal convictions, then became a police informant. That led to him testify against the Hells Angels in Quebec, after which he was put in the witness-protection program, complete with a new identity.
Vanier briefly got Onco listed on the CNQ, a junior stock exchange, in 2007. By then, the company was on the brink of the collapse and the stock price reached a high of $5 before falling to $3, then 15 cents as trading was suspended.
At the time he was charged, the RCMP said it had reviewed 8,000 documents and interviewed 50 witnesses.
At his sentencing on perjury charges last summer, the court noted the Ontario Securities Commission had discovered Onco didn’t have the $21 million in assets it claimed when it published a prospectus.
A 2008 audit showed Vanier and his wife got rich off the scheme. They were paid $17.3 million.
Vanier can appeal his sentences. [email protected]media.com twitter.com/JaneatLFPress