Nevada Supreme Court upholds BCSC order against fraudster
Vancouver – The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC)’s effort to collect $21.7-million from fraudster Michael Lathigee has been upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court, giving the BCSC the right to pursue his assets there.
The unanimous decision affirmed a Nevada state judge’s May 2019 recognition of the BCSC order – probably the first time that a monetary sanction by a Canadian securities regulator has been deemed enforceable in the U.S.
“Any money we collect from Michael Lathigee will be returned to his many victims, so this is a victory for them,” said Peter Brady, the BCSC’s Executive Director. “It’s also a warning to others that they can’t avoid the consequences of market wrongdoing simply by moving to the U.S.”
A BCSC panel found in 2014 that Lathigee, a former Vancouver resident who moved to Las Vegas, fraudulently raised millions of dollars from investors without telling them about the financial condition of companies he controlled. He also used the money to make loans to related companies, instead of investing the funds in foreclosures of residential properties.
In addition to a $15 million administrative penalty and a permanent ban from trading in securities in B.C., the panel ordered Lathigee to pay $21.7 million in disgorgement, representing the amount of money he and Earle Douglas Pasquill obtained from their misconduct.
All seven justices of the Nevada Supreme Court said the BCSC order was an enforceable judgment under the state’s Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act. Many other U.S. states have the same law.
The full court also cited the principle of comity, which holds that courts in one jurisdiction should generally recognize the decisions of another “out of deference and respect.” The justices noted that the BCSC often works with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and that both regulators are signatories to a mutual assistance pact. They also noted that Canadian courts have repeatedly upheld SEC judgments to repay ill-gotten gains.
“The policy of promoting cooperation among nations has special strength as between Canada and the United States,” wrote Chief Justice Kristina Pickering.
About the British Columbia Securities Commission (www.bcsc.bc.ca)
The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:
- A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
- A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital
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