In the second blog of our series showcasing the people at the ASC and the roles they play in investor protection, we spoke with Janet McCready, Team Lead, Litigation, about herself and her role at the ASC.
What led you to become a lawyer for the ASC?
I actually did a degree in Zoology and worked at the Calgary Zoo talking about the pandas in 1988. However, there weren’t many full time opportunities in Zoology, so I started considering law as it was an area I had interest in. After I received my law degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., I worked in different roles for a few years, ending up at a small litigation firm. After 15 years in practice I was ready for a change, so when a friend suggested that I apply to the ASC, I did, and it was such a great decision!
What gets you up and into work every morning?
In addition to going after the bad guys, it’s refreshing to work with people who are so passionate about public service. Investors who have been the victim of fraud don’t usually get their investment back as the money is gone. That said, it’s very satisfying and motivating to let fraudsters know they can’t get away with it – and stop them from taking from others. It also sends a message and hopefully educates more investors. The denial of some who are accused of misconduct and their inability to take responsibility for their actions drives me crazy! I’m glad we have a strong regulatory system so if people want to invest money, they can do it with their eyes open and with full disclosure. Their money is their money and nobody else is entitled to it.
What is your team responsible for?
Our primary role is to take allegations to a hearing after an investigation has been conducted. As Staff counsel, we appear before a panel of the Commission and introduce documents and witness testimony in support of the allegations made. We also consult with other ASC teams when there’s a legal issue arising during an ongoing investigation. This can mean applying for early relief, such as an Interim Cease Trade Order (ICTO) to temporarily pause trading or a Freeze Order to preserve assets while further investigations continue, providing recommendations, preparing for hearings, court applications and appeals.
What is your proudest accomplishment at the ASC?
Soon after I started, I helped work on a case where fraud was discovered early and there was over a million dollars left in the fraudster’s bank account. We obtained a receivership order from the court, worked with the receiver, and when it was settled, some of the investors actually got some money back – up to 50 cents on every dollar they invested. While that doesn’t fully pay back all they’ve lost financially or emotionally, it is a help. Overall, the dedication of the team and collaboration with others allowed us to minimize the financial harms the victims suffered.
How do you feel you help Albertans?
I would say through information and deterrence – shining a light on what’s going on. Once a matter goes to a hearing, it’s open to the public. Sometimes investors come to the hearings so they gain information this way, as well as through various ASC communications. I hope this information helps people become more skeptical and to not simply trust what they are told. Do your homework. Call the ASC or visit our website if you have any questions or concerns. Before investing, check your advisor’s registration. There are resources available to help ensure that you’re doing all you can to protect your money.