BCSC alleges fraud and illegal distributions against two sisters and Alberta company
VANCOUVER, May 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The executive director of the British Columbia Securities Commission has issued a notice of hearing alleging that Siu Mui "Debbie" Wong, Siu Kon "Bonnie" Soo, and an Alberta company co-founded by them committed fraud and illegally distributed securities. Wong and Soo are sisters.
The notice alleges that in and around June 2007, Wong and Soo promoted shares in a joint venture with Wheatland Industrial Park Inc., an Alberta corporation co-founded by Wong and Soo that owns property in Wheatland, Alberta. Wong and Soo were the sole directors of Wheatland and residents of B.C. at all relevant times. The investment was promoted primarily to B.C. residents, in spite of the fact that the company has never filed a prospectus in B.C.
The notice states that the purpose of the joint venture was to develop the Wheatland property into saleable, subdivided parcels of industrial land that would result in profit to investors and Wheatland. The joint venture authorized Wong and Soo to coordinate the development and re-sale of the Wheatland Property, and they were entitled to 5% of net profits for their efforts.
BCSC staff contend that at least 78 individuals and corporate entities purchased shares in the joint venture at around $85,000 per share. For approximately 25 of the purchasers (totaling $2.0 million in shares), there was no applicable exemption to prospectus requirements available to Wheatland.
The notice further alleges that Wong and Soo took joint venture money to make at least $5.2 million in loans to themselves and their various companies (these loans were subsequently paid back to Wheatland). They used the loans for their own business endeavours unrelated to Wheatland, and they made the loans without the knowledge or permission of investors.
Wong and Soo also transferred 33.5 shares in the joint venture, worth approximately $2.8 million, without consideration to companies held by their adult children. They did this without the knowledge or permission of investors. In the notice, BCSC staff note that Wheatland is in default of its mortgage obligations for parts of the Wheatland property, and foreclosure proceedings have been commenced.
BCSC staff maintains that by misappropriating funds from the joint venture and by transferring joint venture shares without consideration to the benefit of their adult children, Wong and Soo perpetrated a fraud against investors.
Wong and Soo have agreed to pay the money owing to Wheatland plus interest by July 31, 2013.
These allegations have not been proven. Counsel for the executive director will apply to set dates for a hearing into the allegations before a panel of commissioners on June 25, 2013 at 9:00am.
The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. You may view the notice of hearing on our website www.bcsc.bc.ca by typing Wheatland Industrial Park Inc., Siu Mui "Debbie" Wong, Siu Kon "Bonnie" Soo, or 2013 BCSECCOM 140 in the search box. Information regarding disciplinary proceedings can be found in the Enforcement section of the BCSC website.
Please visit the Canadian Securities Administrators' Disciplined Persons List for information relating to persons disciplined by provincial securities regulators, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA).
Learn how to protect yourself and become a more informed investor at www.investright.org
SOURCE British Columbia Securities Commission