Former CFL player and Vancouver businessman David Sidoo was allegedly part of a team of international fraudsters who tricked investors out of millions of dollars.
He is among eight people named in a fraud complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges the multi-player ring illegally garnered $145 million US between 2006 and 2020.
In each scheme, the individuals worked together to gain a controlling interest in a publicly traded company, conceal that control, fund misleading campaigns to increase investor interest, and then exploit the increased demand by selling their shares of the stocks at a higher price and reaping millions of dollars.
Sidoo, 62, is thought to have been involved in at least two of them.
According to the complaint, he helped orchestrate a $15.23-million scheme under The North American Oil and Gas Corp. between July 2013 and October 2018, and a $1.45-million scheme under American Helium Inc. between March 2018 and February 2020.
He is not being criminally charged and the allegations haven’t been proven in court.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is asking for regulatory action against the eight individuals, including banning them from future trading, and forcing them to return any illegally acquired gains. It chose to file its complaint in the southern district of New York, where much of the allegedly illegal business took place and numerous investors were defrauded.
In the case of The North American Oil and Gas Corp., at least 77 investors residing in the southern district purchased a total of at least $834,462 in the company, and lost at least $274,684 when Sidoo and his partners suddenly sold off the majority of the stock.
Another two investors in the region lost at least $2,385 after investing in American Helium Inc.
In both instances, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges Sidoo and his fellow fraudsters used offshore financial firms located in Switzerland and numerous front businesses to create the impression that the publicly traded company’s shares were split between multiple different entities. In truth, the Commission says, the companies were almost entirely controlled by the involved businessmen.
By creating the impression that the companies were booming, the men were able to increase investment and sell off their majority at a higher price, leaving themselves far richer and their investors far poorer, the Commission alleges.
It says Sidoo, who worked as a stockbroker in Vancouver for eight years during the 1990s, was well aware of the rules surrounding the purchase and sale of securities.
He was previously convicted on an unrelated fraud charge in 2020.
Sidoo was sentenced to three months behind bars in the U.S. college admissions scandal for paying someone $200,000 to take the SATs in place of his two sons. He also paid the individual to write an admissions essay for one of his sons with a bogus story about being held at gunpoint by a group of Los Angeles gang members.
Following the sentence, he lost his Order of B.C. award, had his name removed from the UBC football stadium and stepped down as president and CEO of two national energy companies.
In the latest fraud allegations, Sidoo is accused alongside three other Canadian citizens (Ronald Bauer, Craig James Auringer, and Adam Christopher Kambeitz), as well as German citizen Alon Friedlander, Italian-Chilean dual citizen Massimiliano Pozzoni Lundie, Bulgarian citizen Petar Dmitrov Mihaylov and UK citizen Daniel Mark Ferris.
Black Press Media has reached out to Sidoo’s lawyer for comment.
-With files from The Associated Press