A Calgary man alleged to be one of the masterminds behind Canada’s largest Ponzi scheme has been collared by Mounties.
Gary Sorenson, one of two men RCMP say are at the centre of a $400-million investment fraud scheme, was arrested at 11:30 a.m. yesterday after stepping off a plane at the Calgary International Airport before being released on bail.
Supt. Eric Mattson said the arrest, a surrender arranged through Sorenson’s lawyer, brings a close to the search for suspects in the scam that allegedly bilked as many as 3,000 investors by promising a large return on investments through shell companies.
“This was a very large operation with thousands of investors and international in scope,” he said, adding it has been ongoing since 1999.
Sorenson, 66, has been charged with theft and fraud, the same charges faced by his alleged partner Milowe Brost, 55, of Chestermere, who was arrested on Sept. 13.
Mattson wouldn’t say where Sorenson had flown in from, but police had previously said he was believed to be living in Honduras.
While Sorenson has been released on a $300,000 bond, his passport and another travel document have been seized, making it difficult for him to flee, Mattson said.
The two men are alleged to have created Syndicated Gold Depository S.A., entering an agreement to loan money to Merendon Mining Corp. Ltd. for the promise of a high rate of return.
Investor funds were then funnelled through shell companies, with investors being paid via separate investors instead of actual profits, police allege.
Mattson said the maximum sentence for fraud is 14 years, while theft carries a maximum sentence of 10.
Both men are scheduled to make their pleas in court on Oct. 19.