Exec gets eight more years

The Chatham Daily News - - NEWS - JANE SIMS

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


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