Alberta regulator says men scammed investors with $50M Ponzi scheme

CALGARY – Alberta’s securities regulator has ruled that two men perpetrated a $52-million “Ponzi scheme” in which the investors have likely lost most of their money.

According to a decision by an Alberta Securities Commission panel issued Monday, Dale Joseph Edgar St. Jean and Gregory Dennis Tindall and their companies, TransCap Corp. and Strata-Trade Corp., lured investors into investing in the scheme through “deceptive or false” information.

The panel also ruled St. Jean and Strata-Trade breached filing requirements and that Tindall concealed or withheld information during the investigation.

The ruling said payments to investors from TransCap and Strata-Trade were funded from their own and fellow investors’ money — “by definition, an unsustainable Ponzi scheme.”

According to the decision, between March 1, 2005, and Dec. 10, 2009, TransCap and Strata-Trade raised approximately $52 million from investors, who were promised safe investments with lucrative returns of 15 to 22 per cent.

“Indeed, there appears to be no money remaining to pay them any interest owing or repay their principal investments,” the commission said in a release.

ASC staff and the men have until May 27 to inform the panel if they propose to introduce additional evidence, or to make submissions, on a penalty.