News Release

Securities Commission agrees with four-year jail term handed Mitton

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Released: 12/28/00 Contact: Dean Pelkey
NR 00-56 (604) 899-6880 or
(BC only) 1-800-373-6393

Vancouver -- A four-year jail sentence handed notorious stock fraudster Michael Lee Mitton sends a clear message that fraud in the marketplace will not be tolerated, says the British Columbia Securities Commission's Executive Director.

"I'm pleased to see the courts came down with a stiff sentence which shows we are serious about maintaining the integrity of our market," Steve Wilson said.

"This recognition by our criminal justice system of the serious effect financial predators have on society should serve as a warning to others who choose to ignore the rights of the investing public and our securities laws."

Wilson said the Mitton case reinforces the "Know Your Client" rule and shows that even investment dealers can fall victim to determined financial criminals.

Although Mitton faces jail time, the BCSC will continue its investigation into Mitton's activities and will take the appropriate actions against Mitton and anyone else involved in the fraud schemes, Wilson added.

Mitton entered guilty pleas to six counts of fraud related to a $2.4 million swindle he ran against investment dealers in B.C. and elsewhere. The guilty pleas put an early end to what promised to be a lengthy trial into stock fraud involving trading in several issues by brokers in Canada, the U.S., Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands. Mitton remains wanted in the U.S. on charges relating to an $11 million fraud against investment firm Shearson Lehman Bros.

According to the indictments issued against Mitton, he defrauded more than $5,000 from Midland Walwyn Capital's Abbotsford office; $87,000 from Coleman and Company Securities Ltd. of Arizona, $251,000 from RBC Dominion Securities, $1.9 million from Standard Bank Stockbrokers in the Isle of Man and $95,000 from the SHARE Foundation, a B.C. charity.

In handing down the four-year sentence to Mitton, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett referred to the 41-year-old as a "professional swindler" and ordered Mitton to make restitution to Coleman and Company, RBC Dominion Securities and Standard Bank.

The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities and exchange contracts within the province.