BULLETIN: Quebec Regulators Reference Cherryshares And Mega Pension Plan — Two ‘Programs’ Pushed On Ponzi Boards — In Freeze And Cease-Trade Orders Against 3 Canadian Promoters, 2 Companies
BULLETIN: The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) has obtained freeze and cease-trade orders against three Quebec residents and two business entities — and has shut down at least one website amid allegations that an international marketing scam was under way.
At least two of the programs referenced in AMF’s action were promoted on the TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup Ponzi forums: Cherryshares, an HYIP darling that collapsed last year, and Mega Pension Plan.
Cherryshares was a paid advertiser on the Ponzi forums. It vanished under mysterious circumstances in December.
AMF described the scams as insidious because the promoters didn’t ask for big money from individual investors, instead relying on relatively small sums to add up to a larger sum.
“These seemingly modest amounts add up to anything but,” according to an AMF news release.
Named in the AMF action are Warren English of Laval, and Alain-André Desarzens and Michèle Amiot of Rimouski. Desarzens and Amiot are married, AMF said.
“Messrs. English and Desarzens had issued a mass e-mailing to thousands of potential investors with promises of pocketing a lot of money fast,” AMF said.
Using different email addresses, English and Desarzens promoted “numerous investments,” including Cherryshares and Mega Pension Plan, AMF alleged.
“They offered thousands of investors around the world, including two Quebeckers, the opportunity to generate possible returns ranging from U.S.$1,000 to $90,000 on a minimum investment of between U.S.$10 and $300,” AMF alleged.
Even as he was soliciting new prospects, English was under a cease-trade order issued by the Ontario Securities Commission in 2003, AMF said.
Desarzens, meanwhile, was under a cease-trade order issued by the Pennsylvania Securities Commission in 1999, AMF said.
English used some of the funds from the Mega Pension Plan scam to acquire a “luxury condominium” in Laval, AMF said.
“Based on the data gathered by the AMF, Mr. English moved nearly $525,000 between his accounts and those of his company, Méga International Business,” AMF said.
All in all, Desarzens allegedly acquired $875,000 as a result of scamming.
No breakdown of which scam was more profitable was provided, but some of the cash ended up with Desarzens’ spouse — and some of it ended up with a Desarzens-controlled entity known as Institut des médecines universelles, AMF said.
A website linked to Desarzens — www.myleads.8k.com — was ordered shut down.