A former Canadian “mutual fund” salesman has been banned for life from the industry and ordered to pay a fine of $6 million for stealing clients’ assets valued at some $12 million, the Globe and Mail reports.
A hearing panel of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada alleged that Paul Yoannou of Ontario-based Investors Group Financial Services mislead clients by telling them their funds were being invested in Investors Group products, but instead he deposited their funds in his own bank accounts and sent them falsified account statements.
Although the MFDA alleged Yoannou stole $11.6-million from 55 clients, he was charged criminally with a subset of cases involving 32 clients who lost $6.6-million. He pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced Feb. 28 to six years in jail. As a result of the guilty plea, the MFDA based its hearing Thursday – and calculated its fine – on the amount cited in the criminal case.
The fine is the largest the MFDA has ever imposed against an individual but is unlikely to be paid because Yoannou has declared bankruptcy and is currently serving a six-year jail sentence in connection with the fraud.