By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business reporter
A Canadian couple accused of defrauding and misappropriating $7m belonging to investors through various Canadian and Bahamian shell companies are believed to be hiding out in the Bahamas and central America.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Financial Crime Unit announced earlier this week that they were seeking the public’s assistance in tracking down Laddy Jeffrey Pogachar, 44, and 39-year-old Paola Lombardi in relation to an alleged $7m investment scam.
According to the RCMP, their investigation began in February, 2010, after the RCMP received a complaint that over $7m was fraudulently misappropriated in an alleged investment scam involving the New Life Capital Corporation. According to the RCMP, New Life Capital Corporation, and affiliated companies (New Life), was a Toronto-based investment firm created and operated by Pogachar and Lombardi between July, 2005, and August, 2008.
“New Life operated in the Life Settlement industry whereby the company purchased life insurance policies from sellers in the United States for a fraction of the face value and pooled the benefits for their investors. New Life raised approximately $22m from over 600 investors, predominantly in Canada.
Investors were led to believe that their funds would be utilised by New Life for the purchase and maintenance of life insurance policies. It is alleged that between November, 2007, and August, 2008, over $7m of investors’ funds were transferred from
New Life accounts in Canada to accounts belonging to Pogachar and Lombardi in the Bahamas.
The transfers were cited as being related to the acquisition of insurance policies for New Life; however it is alleged that these funds were ultimately utilised by Pogachar and Lombardi for personal use.,” the RCMP reported.
It added: “It is alleged that Pogachar and Lombardi created various Canadian and Bahamian shell companies, all unrelated to New Life, in order to misappropriate and launder the $7m through an international network of businesses and financial institutions. Pogachar and Lombardi were charged by the RCMP in September, 2013.
According to a separate investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the couple used investor funds to buy $182,000 in jewellry and a $2.6m condominium in the Bahamas. The OSC first launched allegations and a cease trade order against New Life, Pogachar and Lombardi in August, 2008.
The commission found that between 2005 and 2008, the pair incorporated New Life Capital as well as a series of numbered companies. During that time, they raised about $22m by issuing and selling shares of the company to the public, according to OSC filings.