A former rising star in real estate investment is one of three men in Victoria hit with securities charges linked to improper investment sales.
Saanich police and West Shore RCMP assisted the B.C. Securities Commission criminal investigation team in the investigation, which led to the arrest of two men on Tuesday. A third suspect is still at large.
Daniel Barton, 29, a resident of Victoria, and Gregory Gillespie, 36, of Saanich, were each arrested at their respective homes without incident, and made their first appearance in court Wednesday. They are due back in Victoria provincial court on Sept. 19.
As of Wednesday, Andrew Chengalath, 28, remains at large and the court has issued a warrant for his arrest.
The three men are each charged under the Securities Act with selling securities though Oasis Properties Inc. without being registered with any regulating agency, and charged with selling securities without a prospectus. The alleged offenses took place between March 1, 2008 and Oct. 31, 2009.
B.C. Securities Commission alleges the men improperly sold securities related to a real estate investment centered on 1250604 Alberta Ltd., an Alberta company controlled by Barton and doing business as Oasis Properties and Caprice Investments.
Barton is the most high-profile of the three accused. In 2008, during the same time period of his alleged offenses, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce awarded Barton the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
The Oak Bay High grad was also profiled in Monday Magazine in 2006 as an up and coming real estate entrepreneur who owned scores of homes in Alberta.
Richard Gilhooley, a communications officer with the B.C. Securities Commission, said the commission is alleging that none of the men had registered with regulating agencies such as the B.C. Securities Commission or the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada, for example.
Selling securities without a prospectus – which details the business plan, financial audits, and future plans of the company – without an exemption, is also against the Securities Act.
“We allege they acted contrary to the public interest. The requirements are there to protect investors,” Gilhooley said.
B.C. Securities Commission wouldn’t say how many investors are involved, the amount of money invested or how the complaint against the men emerged. Gilhooley said the long gap to lay charges is not unusual in these types of cases.
“Complex financial investigations often take a long time to gather material, talk to witnesses,” he said. Crown counsel also requires a reasonable likelihood of conviction before signing off on the charges.
Oasis Properties, which had address listings in Langford and Victoria, no longer has a working phone number or website.
Barton is listed as president of Oasis Properties Inc. and Gillespie was its chief operating officer, according to their respective LinkedIn profiles.
Anyone who invested with Oasis Properties and Caprice Investments is encouraged to contact the B.C. Securities Commission at www.investright.org or 1-800-373-6393.