Nanaimo man jailed 6 years for Ponzi scheme, victims across Island

NANAIMO — A man who conducted a years-long Ponzi scheme in B.C. and Alberta has been sentenced to six years in prison and must pay $1.6 million in restitution.

Michael David Chodorowski, 41, pleaded guilty in Nanaimo provincial court to four of eight counts of theft over $5,000. A two-year investigation by Nanaimo RCMP and the B.C. Securities Commission uncovered a scheme where Chodorowski would pay returns to investors from their own money or from new investors, rather than from actual profits.

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He was arrested in Nanaimo last March after police issued a Canada-wide warrant. The total amount defrauded from investors was more than $2.5 million.

The securities commission also charged Chodorowski with breaching the Securities Act and 30 counts of fraud.

There were 13 victims, including people who lived in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, as well as in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, said RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien.

The case initially came to light because a victim came forward and made a complaint to the RCMP, said primary investigator Const. Melodie Gilmour. “Once another victim came forward, they would indicate other people they knew had issues,” Gilmour said. She added that there were additional victims who didn’t want to press charges.

“Some people still believed that Chodorowski would return the money to them, or at least were still hopeful that that would be the case.”

In 1999, Chodorowski was sentenced to almost two years in jail for preying on senior citizens financially and cashing a cheque forged with a dead nun’s signature.

— Files from CP

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