Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lacroix victims to get $6M from Quebec

The victims of Vincent Lacroix will receive $6-million in taxes collected from Norbourg investments, Quebec Revenue Minister Robert Dutil announced Thursday.

Lacroix, founder and former chief executive of Norbourg Asset Management Inc., used "money that did not belong to him," to pay Revenue Quebec in 2005, Dutil explained in a news conference at the National Assembly.

With interest, the total amount tops $6.7 million.

The amount will be distributed to the roughly 9,200 investors in proportion to the amount of their investments, and the number of years they invested with Lacroix. It works out to about $700 per investor.

The cheques should be issued within four weeks, the minister said. Dutil said the government could turn over more money in the future, but would not indicate how much.

"It is excellent news for people who will be able to get back some of their money," said victim Pierre Gravel. "It will make people a bit happier, but it is only a drop in the bucket compared to the $115 million lost. But it is a step forward."

The investors are also calling for the liquidation of Lacroix's assets. Some sources have claimed the trustee handling the case is holding $25 million to $30 million.

On that question, Dutil remained cautious.

"Those are only estimates and we don't know what exactly the amounts are. That's why for the moment, I'm not in a position to tell you what will come out of a possible bankruptcy, or the possible sale of assets," said the minister.

Dutil said the investors have the government's sympathy, and that officials would do everything possible to avoid similar cases in the future.

Lacroix bilked investors of more than $100 million. He pleaded guilty at the Montreal courthouse on Monday to 200 charges of fraud, forging of documents, money laundering, and conspiracy.

Sentencing arguments will be heard on Friday.

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