The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has ruled that Shire International Real Estate Investments Ltd. (Shire), Bearspaw at 144th Avenue Ltd. (Bearspaw) and their guiding mind Jeanette Cleone Couch breached Alberta securities laws by perpetrating a fraud on Bearspaw investors. An ASC panel also found that Alberta securities laws were breached when:
Couch, Shire and Bearspaw made misrepresentations in the Bearspaw offering memoranda and falsely certified that the Bearspaw offering memoranda did not contain a misrepresentation;
Couch, Shire, Shire Asset Management Ltd. and Hawaii Fund made misrepresentations in the Hawaii Fund offering memorandum and falsely certified that the Hawaii Fund offering memorandum did not contain a misrepresentation; and
Couch authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the breaches committed by Shire, Bearspaw and Shire Asset Management Ltd.
Evidence at the hearing indicated that substantially all of the almost $20.9 million deposited to the Bearspaw bank account came from investors, and that almost $7.6 million of the money transferred from the Bearspaw bank account to Shire was “unaccounted for”. The ASC panel found that most “of the Bearspaw money clearly went into the Shire pot, from which Couch directed it towards whatever seemed the most pressing or attractive use at the time.” The ASC panel ruled that statements in the Bearspaw offering memoranda did not allow for this use of investor money.
The ASC panel stated that the “fraudulent use of Bearspaw investor money not only put those investors’ financial interests at risk but indeed financially harmed them.”
The ASC panel has set dates in January and February 2012 for ASC staff, Couch and the other named parties to provide submissions on what, if any, orders for sanctions and costs the panel ought to make.
A copy of the decision can be found on the ASC website at www.albertasecurities.com.
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province's securities laws. It is entrusted to foster a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and to protect investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada's capital markets.
For further information please contact:
For Media Inquiries: Mark Dickey
Senior Communications Advisor
For Investor Inquiries: ASC Public Inquiries
Toll Free 1.877.355.4488