The U.K.-based perpetrator of a $6-million foreign exchange trading scheme targeting investors in Ontario has been sentenced to six years in jail on fraud charges.
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), which investigated the case and brought the charges, announced that Bernard Justin Sevilla has been ordered to serve six years in jail by Justice Leslie Chapin of the Ontario Court of Justice. Sevilla pleaded guilty to one count of fraud over $5,000 and one count of possession of property obtained by crime.
The OSC said the convictions stem from “a complex international fraud scheme” targeting Ontario investors that was coordinated by Sevilla (who also used the aliases James Davies and Martin Schwartz).
According to the regulator, Sevilla and an accomplice solicited investors for a foreign exchange trading scheme called Trans-Atlantic Direct (TAD) through radio ads.
“Approximately 100 Ontario investors from communities across the province invested more than $6 million with TAD, but an investigation revealed that no foreign exchange trading ever took place. Invested funds were used by Mr. Sevilla and his accomplice to support their lifestyles,” the regulator said in a release.
Many of the scheme’s victims were elderly, the OSC also noted, and some of them lost significant amounts of money.
The conviction and sentencing follow the Sevilla’s extradition from the U.K. in October.
A warrant for his arrest was issued in Canada in December 2019, and he was eventually apprehended in the U.K. in October 2020.
“The sentence imposed today recognizes the significance of Mr. Sevilla’s crimes, which had a devastating impact on Ontario investors, many of whom were elderly or vulnerable,” said Jeff Kehoe, director of enforcement at the OSC, in a statement.
“The OSC will continue to use all investigative tools available, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners, to protect Ontario investors and hold the fraudsters who target them accountable,” said Kehoe. “This outcome sends a clear message that those who scheme to defraud Ontario investors cannot hide behind international borders.”