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Police still on lookout for elusive Thow
Local victims want to see the man who stole their $300,000 behind bars

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 extent."

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 charge.


Ian Thow takes flight