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Daily fraud update: 14th November

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Canadian man sentenced in investment fraud case

A man from Canada who founded an investment company which ended up being revealed as a Ponzi scheme has been sent to prison.

Christopher Uitvlugt, who founded Next Level Investments, pleaded guilty when he came before the court last November.

Uitvlugt, who is 29 years old, faced one count of fraud over $5,000 as a result of the scheme.

According to press coverage from Canadian outlets, it is believed that more than $3.5m Canadian dollars were taken from almost 900 investors.

He has been given a sentence of five years, with a short amount of time deducted to cover the time he has already spent in custody.

The sentence was agreed by both Uitvlugt’s lawyer and the prosecution lawyer on the case.

The case had an odd twist, however.

Uitvlugt’s first lawyer, Clyde Smith, was announced as a judge just a couple of days before the sentencing process was expected to kick off.

This meant that the case had to be rescheduled, and there was a delay in his sentencing.

In a statement delivered after the sentence, Justice Gary Tramner told Uitvlugt that the sentencing deal had worked in Uitvlugt’s favour.

“Prison won’t be easy” Tramner said.

“It’s not intended to be.”

“If it wasn’t a joint submission, it (the sentence) would be significantly longer”, he added.

Royal Bank of Canada set to launch crypto platform

A major bank in Canada has announced that it will begin to use blockchain as part of its regular operations.

It is understood that the Royal Bank of Canada will start using blockchain by offering its customers a crypto exchange platform for investment purposes.

It will offer two different cryptocurrencies too – Bitcoin, as expected, and also Ethereum.

The bank, which will offer the new service to its 16 million clients, is intending to launch the platform soon.

It has, however, been discussing the move since 2017.

According to media reports, the bank has also applied for patents related to cryptocurrencies.

However, there was no confirmation of this from the bank itself.

In the past, the bank’s CEO – David McKay – has outlined what the firm intends to do with regard to blockchain.

“We’re experimenting with taking an asset and breaking it into smaller pieces and registering that in a decentralised register called blockchain”, was how he described it.

“You can take an asset or even a company and create a unit on a decentralised blockchain and then sell that into the marketplace.”

The Royal Bank of Canada, which is based in Canada’s largest city and financial centre Toronto and which is a household name in the country, is far from the first major financial institution to look into blockchain.

JP Morgan is one of the highest profile entrants.

That bank issued its own digital crypto coin earlier this year.