Court rules in favour of labour-sponsored venture fund against fund manager

The mastermind of a deceptive investment scheme has been sentenced to 11 years in jail and fined more than $550,000 for tax evasion and fraud by an Alberta court, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced late Friday.

James Harvey Cameron, of Calgary, was convicted in March by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, which found that he raised more than $8 million from investors, purportedly to invest in startups, but returned less than $900,000 to investors.

Cameron misappropriated funds to support a luxurious lifestyle, the court found, including buying cars, property, a horse for his daughter, and spending $75,000 on a cruise for his family and neighbours.

Cameron, 66, was ordered to serve 11 years in jail and fined $550,892, according to the CRA’s announcement. He was also ordered to pay $1.83 million in restitution to victims.

Should Cameron fail to pay his fine within six months he must serve an additional four years in jail, the CRA notes.

The CRA’s investigation “proved that Cameron diverted $3.9 million of the investors’ funds for his own use and failed to report this as income on his tax returns, evading $1,132,882 in taxes,” the agency says in a statement.

Cameron, and his company Venture Trading Inc. (VTI), were first sanctioned by the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) in 2006. That same year, the CRA launched an audit of the firm, which was followed by a criminal investigation in 2010, which led to charges being filed in 2012.

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta concluded earlier this year that, “the evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Cameron’s conduct and activities were fraudulent and caused the investor’s deprivation.”

“I have no doubt whatsoever that [Cameron] executed a deceptive investment scheme with subjective knowledge of the prohibited act and consequences,” said presiding judge, Justice P.R. Jeffrey, in his written reasons for convicting Cameron.

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