A gavel rests on its sounding block with a several law books and a justice scale out of fucus in the background. A cool blue cast dominates the scene. (A gavel rests on its sounding block with a several law books and a justice scale out of fucus in t

The operator of an alleged Ponzi scheme that took several million dollars from investors is now facing a ban from the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

The OSC issued enforcement allegations against Christopher Uitvlugt, the former operator of Next Level Capital Group, an unregistered foreign exchange trading firm based in Kingston, Ont. The regulator is seeking a permanent ban against Uitvlugt following his conviction on a count of fraud over $5,000.

According to the OSC’s allegations, Uitvlugt admitted to taking approximately $4.8 million from investors with promises that he’d trade their funds in the forex markets and split the profits. In fact, only about $24,000 was used to trade, and those trades lost $5,000.

Instead, investors’ money was used to finance the scheme and to fund Uitvlugt’s lifestyle, the OSC alleged. “Uitvlugt used investor funds to pay for his personal expenses and to fund his lifestyle including his Lamborghini and Audi vehicles and for Next Level expenses,” it said.

Also, police found that “Next Level was a Ponzi scheme whereby new investor funds were clearly utilized to pay out earlier investors,” the OSC said.

“Next Level offered clients a range of investment services, including expert analysis, strategic planning and risk management despite not having a single employee who possessed the education and registration credentials required in the financial and investment sector,” the OSC noted in its allegations.

The regulator reported that, as a result of the scheme, Uitvlugt was indicted on three counts in 2018, and pled guilty to one. The other two counts were withdrawn.

And in 2019, he was sentenced to five years in prison, minus the time he spent in pre-trial custody. He was also ordered to forfeit the contents of his bank accounts and other assets.

In January, the Alberta Securities Commission permanently banned Uitvlugt from its markets on the basis of his fraud conviction, noting that at least 10 of his victims were from Alberta, where he used to live.

Now, the OSC is also seeking a ban against Uitvlugt, based on the fact that his conviction stemmed from offences involving securities.

He now has 21 days to request an oral hearing, or 28 days to file written submissions to the OSC.