BCSC hands down penalties in $5M Ponzi scheme

By James Langton | July 16, 2020 | Last updated on July 16, 2020
1 min read

The perpetrator of an apparent Ponzi scheme has been ordered to pay more than $6 million in monetary sanctions.

A hearing panel of the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) imposed sanctions on Todd Norman John Bezzasso and Wei Kai (aka Kevin) Liao for violating securities laws in connection with a scheme that raised more than $5 million from 85 investors.

The BCSC also sanctioned Bezzasso’s companies, Bezzaz Holdings Group Ltd. and Nexus Global Trading Ltd.

According to the panel’s order, Bezzasso “was the mastermind of a $5 million fraudulent Ponzi scheme,” who lied to investors and diverted investors’ funds to make payments to other investors.

He was ordered to pay a $4.5 million penalty, and both Bezzasso and his companies were jointly ordered to pay $1.6 million “representing the amount they obtained or avoided losing as a result of the misconduct.”

Bezzasso and his companies were also permanently banned by the panel.

Liao was originally accused of defrauding 14 investors, but the panel found that he only committed fraud against one investor.

It also noted that he wasn’t aware of the Ponzi scheme and that “he did not directly benefit from the misappropriation of investors’ funds but rather received commissions and other compensation as a finder.”

The panel did rule that he traded and advised investors without being registered.

He was ordered to pay $100,000 penalty, and $68,530, representing the amount he obtained or avoided losing due to misconduct. Liao was also banned for 15 years.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for Advisor.ca and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.