David Holden was recently convicted of defrauding Canadian investors in Seaquest Corporation and Seaquest Capital Corporation of more than $54-million in a complex ponzi-scheme. In related civil proceedings our team acted to obtain significant recoveries for some of Holden’s victims. Sadly, this was not the first time that Holden had defrauded investors.
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In the recent decision Anisman v. Drabinsky, 2020 ONSC 1197 Justice Morgan voided a transfer of a $2.625 million Toronto home for the nominal sum of $2 by Garth Drabinsky to his wife as a fraudulent conveyance as against Drabinsky’s former lawyer and other creditors. This summary judgment decision provides important guidance for creditors on how to approach issues relating to discoverability and limitation periods in the context of real property that may have been fraudulently conveyed.
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In Amphenol Canada Corp v. Sundaram, 2020 ONSC 328 (“Amphenol Canada“), the Ontario Divisional Court confirmed that a prima facie showing of fraud and dissipation in the context of a Mareva injunction may have additional consequences for defendants, including presumed prejudice in terms of that defendant’s ability or inclination to satisfy future cost awards.
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In a widely publicized move, on December 18, 2019, SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. pleaded guilty to fraud over five thousand dollars. The guilty plea was the result of protracted settlement discussions between SNC-Lavalin and the Crown.

As part of SNC-Lavalin’s plea deal, all charges against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and its international marketing arm, SNC-Lavalin International Inc. were withdrawn. SNC-Lavalin Construction will pay a fine of $280 million, payable in instalments over the next five years. The deal also includes a recently released probation order that requires SNC-Lavalin Construction to cause SNC-Lavalin Group to strengthen its compliance program, record keeping, and internal control standards.
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Ontario has established a new agency to combat fraud. The Serious Fraud Office (the “SFO”), modelled on the UK’s anti-fraud agency of the same name, will place police investigators and fraud prosecutors under one umbrella to ensure the proper expertise and enforcement coordination is applied to cases of high-value fraud in Ontario.
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On May 14, 2019, in Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corp. v. DBDC Spadina Ltd., 2019 SCC 30 the Supreme Court of Canada granted Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corporation’s appeal and unanimously adopted Justice van Rensburg’s dissenting reasons as their own. In reversing the earlier decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court has provided guidance on when a party will be found to have participated in a breach of trust.
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Lawyers must act with care and uphold their professional obligations when making referrals. The Supreme Court of Canada recently addressed the professional liability of a lawyer who advised his client to purchase specific offshore investments from an advisor where that advisor turned out to be a fraudster. In Salomon v Matte‑Thompson, 2019 SCC 14, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal holding the lawyer liable for his client’s investment losses.
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Surprisingly, evidently not. Briefly the facts in Plate v. Atlas Copco Canada Inc., 2019 ONCA 196: an Executive in the role of Vice President Global Strategic Customers was terminated for just cause grounded in a decades-long defrauding of the company and its benefits provider in conspiracy with the latter’s consultant, to the extent of over $20,000,000, over a million of which resulted to the Executive personally. His argument that he was a bystander incidentally enriched to the knowledge of the employer failed, conviction entered, no appeal pursued.
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