In September, Lino Matteo, the former CEO of Mount Real Corp., was found guilty of 270 violations of Quebec's Securities Act for his role in the Mount Real Ponzi scheme. This week he learned the price to be paid: a 5-year prison sentence along with $4.91 million in fines, plus court fees.
Mount Real Corp., a Montreal-area investment management company, was shut down in 2006 by the AMF, Quebec's securities regulator. The company's executives set up an elaborate scheme including booking false transactions to boost the balance sheet in order to fool investors. The scheme left more than 1200 investors with $130 million in outstanding notes. In 2016, the company's auditors and security trustees settled a class action brought by investors for $43 million, though without any admission of liability.
In rendering this week's sentence, the Quebec Court judge held that the case "contained all the elements of a premeditated or deliberate fraud in which Lino P. Matteo played a key role, showing disregard not only for the applicable principles but for everyone who dared slow down his ambitions.... In that sense, his moral blameworthiness is at the highest level".
In 2016, Matteo was also sentenced to an 8-year sentence for defrauding investors of Cinar Corp. by sending more than $120 million to offshore Bahamian accounts. While he is appealing the sentence in the Cinar case, the most recent judgment of the Court specified that both sentences must be served consecutively.
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