A Saanichton resident has been banned from B.C.’s investment market for running a Ponzi scheme and blowing investors’ money on luxury vehicles like a Lamborghini, says the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC).
Christopher Uitvlugt pleaded guilty in Ontario in 2018 to one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of possession of property obtained by crime, and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in relation to his role as CEO of Next Level Investments.
The ban is a permanent one, according to the BCSC.
“An Ontario incorporated company, Next Level offered investors the opportunity to make a 550 per cent rate of return on three-month term investments,” said the BCSC in a statement. “These profits were supposed to be gained through Uitvlugt’s foreign exchange trading. Instead, it was a Ponzi scheme.”
An estimated $4.8 million was invested by 874 people, but only about $24,000 was used for foreign exchange trades.
“The remainder was used to pay out investors and for personal expenses such as Lamborghini and Audi vehicles,” said the BCSC.
Most of the investors received nothing back on their investments. Police were able to restrain or recover about $2.2 million, said the BCSC.
Uitvlugt was sentenced to five years in jail, and was subject to a forfeiture order.
“The size and scope of Mr. Uitylugt’s misconduct demonstrates that he is a significant risk to the public and the capital markets,” the panel said. “We find that he is unfit to participate in the capital markets of British Columbia and that permanent prohibitions are warranted.”
Although the BCSC provided Uitvlugt the opportunity to be heard, he did not participate in the hearing.
The BCSC imposed sanctions on Uitvlugt under its authority to reciprocate orders by other securities regulators, self-regulatory organizations, exchanges or courts. The BCSC order bars him from:
Trading in or purchasing any securities, derivatives, or registered accounts
Becoming or acting as a director or officer of any issuer or registrant
Becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter
Advising or acting in a management or consultative capacity in the securities or derivatives markets
Engaging in promotional activities by or on behalf of an issuer, security holder, party to a derivative, or a person that is reasonably expected to benefit from the promotion
Engaging in promotional activities on his own behalf that would reasonably be expected to benefit him, and
Relying on any exemptions of the Securities Act, the regulations or a decision.