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Calgary man sentenced to 4 years for Ponzi scheme

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A Calgary man has been sentenced to four years in jail after being found guilty of operating a Ponzi scheme that raised $27-million from investors.

Robert Sellars, 76, was handed the sentence Thursday in Alberta Provincial Court after being found guilty of one count of fraud over $5,000. He pleaded guilty in April to raising money from 350 investors through his company, Sellars Financial Inc.

A joint submission by the Crown and defense suggested a seven-year sentence in the case, according to the Calgary RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team (IMET), which investigated the case.

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The judge gave him credit for two years already served in jail for related charges laid under the Alberta Securities Act, and awarded a four-year sentence. He is also ordered to pay up to $10-million in restitution to victims.

Charges laid in 2012 against his daughter, Penny Sellars, were withdrawn when Mr. Sellars pleaded guilty.

Mr. Sellars told investors their money was being invested in everything from financial instruments to gold mines and gravel quarries, but only a small amount was ever spent on investments and most of the money raised was used to pay returns to earlier investors.

The scheme operated from 2003 to 2009. His company was placed into bankruptcy in 2011 and investors have recovered little of their losses.

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About the Author
Real Estate Reporter

Janet McFarland is the real estate reporter for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, with a focus on residential real estate trends. She joined Report on Business in 1995, and has specialized in reporting on corporate governance, executive compensation, pension policy, business law, securities regulation and enforcement of white-collar crime. More

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