April 8, 2004
Vancouver – The B.C. Securities Commission has banned three former mutual fund salespeople from trading securities for three years after they admitted to selling securities without registration or a prospectus.
Walter Leo Barnscher, of Langley, Michael Jerome Knight, formerly of Burnaby, and Richard Albert James Smith, of Coquitlam, made the admissions in settlements with the BCSC. Barnscher was a director, officer and controlling shareholder of the numbered company, 601949 B.C. Ltd. (ShelfCo). Knight was a senior officer and director of 3644871 Canada Inc. (Aspen Group). Smith was registered at Aspen Capital Management Inc., a Vancouver-based securities dealer.
Specifically, the trio admitted to breaching securities laws in selling shares of companies without registration or a prospectus as required when:
· Barnscher sold more than 1.6-million shares of ShelfCo to 10 B.C. investors for over $242,000 from March 13, 2000 to June 6, 2000.
· Knight sold 200,000 shares of Aspen Group to two B.C. investors for $100,000 in December 1999.
· Smith sold 96,000 shares of Aspen Group to 12 investors for $48,000 in December 1999.
In addition to agreeing to be banned from trading for three years except in limited circumstances, the trio have agreed to orders that limit or prohibit them from being officers or directors and engaging in investor relations activities for three years.
Barnscher and Knight have each agreed to pay the commission:
· Barnscher -- $10,000 including $3,500 as investigation costs
· Knight -- $15,000 including $4,000 as investigation costs
The three were among six individuals named in a notice of hearing on Feb. 21, 2002 (amended on Feb. 20, 2004), in which commission staff alleged a number of breaches of the Securities Act by Aspen Capital and those involved with the securities dealer, including fraud or misrepresentation by some of the individuals who have not settled with the BCSC.
The commission will hold a hearing from April 21 to May 14, 2004 to hear the allegations against the remaining respondents.
The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities and exchange contracts within the province. The settlement can be accessed through the commission’s website www.bcsc.bc.ca or by contacting Andrew Poon, Media Relations, 604-899-6880.