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Former Canadian Olympian Harold Backer turns himself in to Victoria police

Victoria police say Harold Backer, an investment dealer and former Canadian Olympic rower who had been missing for nearly a year and a half, has turned himself in.

Vancouver Police Department/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Victoria police say an investment dealer and former Canadian Olympic rower who had been missing for nearly a year and a half has turned himself in.

Harold Backer disappeared on Nov. 3, 2015 when he failed to return home after telling his family he was going out for a bike ride.

Soon after, financial crime investigators began looking into Backer and the company My Financial Backer Corporation after his investors received concerning letters.

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"He appeared at our police station yesterday. He walked in of his own accord," Victoria police spokesman Matt Rutherford said Friday.

Rutherford, however, said he had no idea where Backer has been since he disappeared in 2015.

Backer, 52, was held in custody overnight. He has had a telebail hearing and is facing two counts of fraud over $5,000. Rutherford said he could not elaborate on the specifics of the allegations against Backer.

Mutual Funds company Investia Financial Services Inc. terminated Backer's licence after his disappearance, stating he'd failed to follow its policies and procedures that required him to disclose all outside business activities.

After his disappearance, police in Port Angeles, Wash., said an officer who viewed video from a street security camera noted a man fitting Backer's description was aboard a ferry from Victoria, a 90-minute trip away.

"I know that the last reported sighting of him was the video footage of him just getting off the ferry to Port Angeles. We're not sure where he went after that," Rutherford said.

Police said Backer remains in custody and expected to appear in court again on April 18th

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Backer, who competed in rowing in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, had 20 clients with Investia.

Investia said after Backer's disappearance it had contacted all of the affected clients, that money related to their registered accounts was intact and they were issued regular statements.

Investia said some clients confirmed they had other dealings with Backer on the side.

Backer had been a representative for Investia since June 2005. The company said it had received no complaints from his clients.

Rutherford said Backer's family has been notified that he has turned himself in.

Police said the fraud investigation is continuing.

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"Our investigators worked well into the early parts of the morning today and will continue to work throughout the weekend for the Tuesday court appearance," Rutherford said.

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