Andrew A. Duffy
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
It has been 43 days and there's no sign the RCMP are ready to arrest or
even know the whereabouts of disgraced investment adviser Ian Thow.
Though the RCMP's Integrated Market Enforcement Team confirmed charges
June 26, they have been looking for the former Berkshire Investment
Group vice-president since June 9. "There's nothing new to report at
this time," said acting sergeant Sammy Wu of Vancouver's IMET.
When asked if they were confident they would find and arrest Thow, Wu
would only say they continue to work with Crown counsel to ensure Thow's
return to answer charges.
Thow is charged with 25 counts of fraud over $5,000 as a result of his
misuse of former clients' investments.
Thow, who had been living in Seattle since 2005 but is believed to have
been in Jamaica recently, left Victoria in the summer of 2005 amid
claims from his former clients and creditors that he bilked them out of
more than $32 million by convincing them to invest in schemes ranging
from shares in a Jamaican bank to loans for Vancouver developers.
"Our level of concern has been the same from the beginning, we are still
working with Crown to ensure his return at this point," said Wu. "The
important thing right now is to locate him and we are taking all the
necessary steps in order to do that."
When asked if other agencies -- such as Interpol and the FBI -- have
been involved, Wu would only say in the event they feel there's a need
to contact them it will be done.
"I cannot get into specifics with whom we've been in contact and to what
That same "no news" theme is becoming frustrating to Thow's victims.
"I think it's disgusting, I absolutely do," said Shirley Garwood, who
along with sister Helena Kells lost $300,000 in investments. "I knew he
wouldn't be here when they laid charges."
"I don't know if they will ever get him," she said. "I just don't
understand why these things take forever. I know we are not going to get
money (out of these criminal charges) but I would certainly like to see
him behind bars."
Once arrested, it is likely the RCMP will push for extradition
proceedings to bring him to Canada, though it could take months or even
years to return Thow to B.C. to face the courts.
Thow faces a maximum penalty of between 10 and 14 years in prison per