Vancouver Sun

Fraud­ster’s re­ported fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion com­pli­cates BCSC’s ef­fort to col­lect $618K

- GOR­DON HOEKSTRA ghoek­stra@post­ twit­­don_hoek­stra

The B.C. Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion has fined and per­ma­nently banned Van­cou­ver res­i­dent Lynne Rae Nick­ford from the prov­ince’s in­vest­ment mar­kets.

Her penal­ties to­tal $618,141, but it’s un­clear whether the com­mis­sion will ever col­lect a cent from Nick­ford.

She de­clared bank­ruptcy in 2010 and none of the in­vestors that she bilked have seen any funds re­turned.

Nick­ford has told the com­mis­sion she is not in a po­si­tion to pay any mon­e­tary sanc­tions be­cause she has a limited in­come, no as­sets, no ex­pec­ta­tions of in­her­it­ing money, and no one from which to bor­row money, ac­cord­ing to the penalty de­ci­sion re­leased this week.

Nick­ford, also known as Lynne Rae Zlot­nik, had con­vinced 13 in­vestors to lend about $2 mil­lion be­tween 2009 and 2010, pur­port­edly to fund her fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany Lynne Zlot­nik Wealth Man­age­ment, but some money was used to pay for per­sonal ex­penses in­clud­ing food, cloth­ing, rent and gam­bling in casi­nos in Van­cou­ver and Las Ve­gas, a com­mis­sion tri­bunal found. If Nick­ford, who is in her late 60s, does not pay her penalty, she will join a long list of fi­nan­cial fraud­sters in Bri­tish Columbia who have not done so in the past decade.

A Post­media in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­lished last Novem­ber found the com­mis­sion has col­lected less than two per cent of $510 mil­lion in penal­ties it is­sued from fis­cal 2007-08 to 2016-17.

The B.C. Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion would not say Tues­day whether it ex­pects to col­lect money from Nick­ford or what steps it has taken to do so.

“We do not pub­licly dis­close the col­lec­tion strate­gies for in­di­vid­ual cases, so as not to un­der­mine our col­lec­tions ef­forts,” com­mis­sion spokes­woman Ali­son Walker said in a writ­ten re­sponse.

Nick­ford has not faced any crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion, not un­usual in Bri­tish Columbia, where the Post­media in­ves­ti­ga­tion also found that crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for fi­nancere­lated of­fences is a rar­ity.

The com­mis­sion was not able to track all of the $2 mil­lion in­vested, but a tri­bunal con­cluded last year that Nick­ford had de­frauded the 13 in­vestors of at least $318,141.

She was fined $300,000 in an ad­min­is­tra­tive penalty and or­dered to pay back the $318,141.

The com­mis­sion tri­bunal that is­sued the penal­ties said Nick­ford’s con­duct was par­tic­u­larly egre­gious. “In the guise of sup­port­ing in­vestors and pro­vid­ing in­vestor ed­u­ca­tion and em­pow­er­ment, she preyed on clients of her fi­nan­cial ser­vices firm, her friends and mem­bers of her re­li­gious com­mu­nity, many of them in or near­ing re­tire­ment,” wrote the tri­bunal, whose chair­woman was Suzanne K. Wilt­shire.

The tri­bunal stated the sanc­tions it im­poses must be suf­fi­cient to en­sure that the re­spon­dents and oth­ers will be de­terred from en­gag­ing in sim­i­lar mis­con­duct.

How­ever, in­vestor ad­vo­cates, ex­perts and vic­tims have ques­tioned the de­ter­rence value of penal­ties that are not col­lected.

 ??  ?? Lynne Rae Nick­ford
Lynne Rae Nick­ford

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