A deceitful Ontario-based Pastor—who scammed investors out of more than $8 million—will soon be penalized by the OSC.
And it’s about time. Marlon Gary Hibbert, who previously preached in Scarborough, Ontario, ran an elaborate scheme involving a web of non-registered companies starting in 2003. This past April, he was charged by the OSC with fraud, but has yet to receive punishment or pay back his victims.
Hibbert seemed like an upstanding citizen; along with being a Pastor, he founded a centre for the Dominion World Outreach Ministries. He was also a founding member of Fight For Justice, an organization devoted to African-Canadian communities.
As always, though, looks can be deceiving. On the side, he started Dominion International Resource Management in December 2003, which operated under the name Kabash Resource Management. Kabash was never registered with the Commission.
He also started Power To Create Wealth, a Panamanian company, in January 2007, changing the name to Ashanti Corporate Services in 2008. Neither company was ever registered. Hibbert used these companies to scam prospective investors, getting his name out there and gaining referrals.
His victims included a part-time teacher living in Western Ontario. She invested $60,000 throughout 2007 and 2008, advancing the funds in four parts. She heard about Hibbert through close friends, who told her he offered solid profits, a guaranteed return on principal and no risk.
Sound suspicious? The teacher knew he was a pastor, so trusted him without gaining proof of registration or training. And at first, her return on investment was excellent; she was sent 5% returns on a monthly basis.
In reality, though, Hibbert returned only a fraction of her funds. Overall, the OSC found he funneled $673,000 of his victims’ money to himself and his wife, and another $483,848 to his charities. He also paid off his debt, school fees and personal expenses.
When the teacher demanded her total return on capital, however, she ran into major problems. Hibbert delayed payment, citing volatile markets and technical account difficulties.
Many of his victims lost their savings and inheritances, and one of them even lost their home.
In April, the OSC found he traded and distributed securities without filing a prospectus, traded and advised on securities without being registered, and, when investigated, made materially misleading and untrue statements.
“Hibbert lied to investors by saying he was successful in trading in foreign exchange,” says the OSC. “He provided monthly statements that didn’t reflect actual trading results, and which showed growth of investors’ funds when losses were sustained in actuality.”
He’s been called a crook and a fraud by courts, but has only been ordered to pay $100,000 in legal fees—the cost of the civil suit against him—to date.
On Monday, sentencing arguments were heard and OSC prosecutors say Hibbert should pay a penalty of $1 million, plus another $400,000 in investigation costs. His lawyer says the penalty should be no more than $500,000.
Sentencing was initially slated to take place a month ago, but delayed to give him time to assemble funds to pay back some investors.
The Toronto Star reports these scammed clients are frustrated. Horace Finnikin, a member of his congregation, told reporters, “He’s never been required to sit in a courtroom. At the end of the day, [we’re] not getting a penny back.”