Canada may have a better health-care system than the U.S., but when it comes time to punish a Ponzi schemer, our neighbors to the north look south with envy. Bertram Earl Jones, a Montreal financier, is that nation's version of Bernie Madoff. He stands accused of committing a Ponzi scheme similar to Madoff's. And like Madoff, Jones had a Palm Beach County getaway, though his was a Boca Raton condo, not a Palm Beach mansion. As with that case, there's a big pack of investors who have no hope of getting their money back and every hope that Jones gets a hefty jail sentence.
According to The Globe & Mail of Canada, that angry mob includes 70-year-old Bevan Jones, the alleged fraudster's older brother, who says his sibling cheated him out of his life's savings.
The paper reports that at a recent meeting of Earl Jones' creditors, there was talk of two investors in the U.S. who had contacted the FBI about their investments with the disgraced financier:
The prospect of American justice and regulators cheered several former clients, who voiced worries that Mr. Jones would be treated too leniently by Canadian authorities.
Among the cheering section, another Mr. Jones:
"I want him put away for a long time," Bevan Jones said of his younger brother. "In our country, if he gets two days or a week, that will be a long sentence."
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Though initial reports claimed Jones' alleged fraud would total $100 million, a bankruptcy court ruled that he'd misused at least $12 million of his clients' money, the figure being cited in more recent news reports.
Considering Boca Raton was the only place in the U.S. where Jones owned property, it stands to reason he may have found investors there and, if so, that he'll make one last trip to Palm Beach County.
As for Jones' alleged victims, you can understand how American justice sounds inviting, especially as Madoff settles into a 150-year prison sentence and as his wife endures a string of indignities on the outside -- such as the recent report that federal agents pawed through her vast wardrobe, relying on their own sartorial judgment to decide what she was entitled to keep. From the AP:
Federal marshals took possession of the penthouse on July 2, forcing Ruth Madoff to leave and surrender nearly all her belongings. She was allowed to keep a few personal effects and a "reasonable" amount of clothing, Ubaldo said.
Bernie Madoff did not need anything from the apartment because "he is given everything he needs by the Bureau of Prisons," Ubaldo said, referring to the 150-year prison term Madoff began serving this summer.