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Archive | Norbourg affair: The fall of financier Vincent Lacroix

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar15,2024

Archives | Norbourg affair: The fall of financier Vincent Lacroix

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In January 2008, Vincent Lacroix was found guilty of the largest financial fraud recorded in Canada with the Norbourg affair.

Radio-Canada

There are 15 years ago, on January 28, 2008, Vincent Lacroix headed to prison following a trial where he was found guilty of financial fraud on an unprecedented scale in Quebec. Reports from our archives trace the thread of the Norbourg affair, his asset management firm which cheated thousands of investors.

It was on August 25, 2005 that the financial scandal came to light. The Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and the RCMP carried out a series of searches at the various offices of the Norbourg group located in Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, as well as at the residence of Vincent Lacroix.

The president and founder of Norbourg is suspected of having embezzled $70 million for personal purposes. A financial fraud that would affect nearly 10,000 investors.

Le Téléjournal/Le point, August 26, 2005

The day after the searches, on August 26, Vincent Lacroix published a press release ensuring that he intended to collaborate fully with the investigators. This is what we learn from the Téléjournal hosted by Josée Thibeault.

As for savers who had entrusted their savings in Norbourg, they are already coming together to file a class action.

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The two investors that journalist Alexis Deschênes meets ask to testify with their faces covered. Still in shock, they want to give themselves a plan of attack to channel their anger, but they also feel great shame for what happened to them.

However, they have no reason to be ashamed, maintains the journalist. An average investor would not have been able to detect financial fraud such as that revealed at Norbourg. Only the AMF had access to the information that could allow us to know what was going on.

The allegations against Vincent Lacroix are shaking also strongly the financial world, relates the journalist Jean-Sébastien Cloutier in a second report.

Vincent Lacroix was perceived as a young financial executive who was betting a lot on building his company and who wanted to make it grow very quickly, says company administrator Michel Nadeau .

It was perhaps anticipated that he would have some management difficulties, but that he is involved in what appears to be a fraud is a great surprise to many people in Montreal financial circles.

Le Téléjournal/Le point, August 28, 2005

Vincent Lacroix admits that mistakes were made, declares host Josée Thibeault on Téléjournal on August 28, 2005.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">A few days after the events, the president of Norbourg granted an interview to journalist Yvan Lamontagne.

What happened this week surprised everyone, says Vincent Lacroix from the outset. It's a week that I'm not about to forget, Mr. Lamontagne.

Called to explain what could be the worst financial scandal that Quebec has ever known, the president of Norbourg does not wish to get too far ahead. I would tell you that in due course, I look forward to taking stock of this procedure, he says.

Vincent Lacroix invites people to remain calm in what he describes as an overrated media storm. Despite this bombshell on his company, Norbourg's 400 representatives remain available to serve the financial group's 40,000 customers, he maintains.

The president of Norbourg also ensures that it collaborates with Ernst & Young, the trustee of Norbourg.

Two months later, on October 13, 2005, he filed his company and its satellite companies into bankruptcy. Ernst & Young takes care of the liquidation of the assets. In the eyes of the former president of the mutual fund and investment firm, this is the best way to protect the interests of investors and creditors.

After failing to unfreeze his assets, he himself had his property seized by the Quebec tax authorities, to whom we learned on October 18, 2005 that he owed nearly $19 million.

Téléjournal, May 14, 2007

This is considerable evidence. More than 1,500 boxes of documents that the AMF filed today against former Norbourg boss Vincent Lacroix on the first day of his civil trial.

A quote from host Bernard Derome< /blockquote>

On May 14, 2007, the Norbourg affair ended up in court, as shown in this report in Téléjournal. Vincent Lacroix did everything to delay his trial, mentions journalist Catherine Kovacs, but ultimately, he said he was freed and that he was finally starting.

Saying completely broke, Vincent Lacroix intends to defend himself without a lawyer. During the winter of 2007, he requested legal aid three times, but his requests were rejected.

On the AMF side, it was forensic accountant François Fillion who put together the evidence with around ten investigators. The team met 70 witnesses and examined 27 bank accounts in the name of Vincent Lacroix and Norbourg in 4 different banks, details the journalist.

Catherine Kovacs also returns in his report on the genesis of this affair which began on October 28, 2004 with a first administrative investigation by the AMF into the accounts of Norbourg.

Questioned for the first time in April 2005, the former vice-president of finance at Norbourg finally admitted not having told the truth, revealing to the AMF that certain documents were false. Éric Asselin had at the same time confided in the RCMP in order to be promised complete immunity before the courts.

In this criminal trial before judge alone, Vincent Lacroix faces 51 counts for offenses under the Quebec Securities Act.

The AMF wants this trial to be an example and recommends maximum penalties against Vincent Lacroix, who is specifically accused of having embezzled funds and submitted false documents to the authorities, explains journalist Catherine Kovacs.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Téléjournal, January 28, 2008

January 28, 2008, at the end of a trial of Nearly 50 days later, Vincent Lacroix received his sentence from the Court of Quebec. Journalist Catherine Kovacs describes this day to Téléjournalhosted by anchor Bernard Derome.

Vincent Lacroix receives a sentence of 12 years less a day for embezzling investors' money for personal purposes. He will also have to pay a fine of $255,000. This is the most severe sentence to date for this type of crime, specifies the journalist.

The sentence is well received by the cheated investors, who even applaud Judge Leblond. The Norbourg story does not end today, declares Vincent Lacroix before his sentence is pronounced.

I x27;now hopes there will be a criminal prosecution, says one of his victims. If it can take another ten years, that will be a deterrent.

Téléjournal, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009 s effectively opens the second trial of Vincent Lacroix, this time criminally. As evidenced by the Téléjournalhosted by Céline Galipeau that evening, the former president of Norbourg this time created a surprise by admitting his guilt for the 200 charges against him.

Vincent Lacroix had no hope of being acquitted. The evidence amassed against him was overwhelming, says journalist Isabelle Richer in her report.

By pleading guilty to all the charges brought against him by the RCMP, Vincent Lacroix avoided a lengthy four-month jury trial. He also heads to prison without testifying against the five co-defendants in this case.

However, there is no agreement between the defense and the Crown on the sentence to be imposed for this fraud, the largest recorded in Canada. On October 9, 2009, Judge Wagner finally imposed a sentence of 13 years on him out of the maximum of 14 years provided for in the Criminal Code.

Téléjournal, January 27, 2011

The fallen financier Vincent Lacroix has regained a certain freedom today, announces the anchor Céline Galipeau in the Téléjournal of January 27, 2011.

Vincent Lacroix was released from prison one sixth of his sentence. Early parole which is automatic for offenders with no prior record who commit a non-violent crime, explains journalist Isabelle Richer in her report.

An hour after leaving the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines penitentiary, he was greeted by a horde of journalists in front of his halfway house located in the southwest from Montreal. Vincent Lacroix should in principle live there for the next three years. He is also required to participate in community service for six months.

The ex-inmate wanted to return to school, but the National Commission on Correctional Services refused him this project, preferring that he try to acquire values ​​centered on a contribution to society.

Vincent Lacroix was able to benefit from full parole in 2014. As for the field of finance, he does not have the right to work there until the actual end of his sentence, in 2026.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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