An Edmonton-area man is facing dozens of criminal charges in connection with a supposed mortgage investment operation. Wade Robert Closson, of St. Albert, Alberta, operated Optam Holdings Inc. (Optam) from 2008 to 2013. Police began investigating the company in 2013 after receiving reports from investors that there were discrepancies in the operation and eventual bankruptcy of Optam. On April 1, the 45-year-old was charged with 80 counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of theft over $5,000.
The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) had previously sanctioned Optam, Infinivest Mortgage Investment Corporation and Closson in Re Optam Holdings Inc., in connection with the supposed mortgage investment operation. Closson had admitted that between January 2009 and April 2013 approximately $10.8 million was raised for Optam and Infinivest from as many as 125 investors. Based on these admissions, an ASC panel found that Closson engaged in fraudulent conduct by misrepresenting to investors how their money would be used and secured against loss. Closson, Optam and Infinivest were also found to have illegally traded and distributed securities without registration.
The ASC panel noted in Re Optam Holdings Inc., that "Closson's false representations to the investors as money was being raised, and his undisclosed diversion of their money to unauthorized purposes, were both acts of deceit. These acts put investors' pecuniary interests at risk; indeed, it appears that most of the money they invested has been lost." In its decision, the ASC panel ordered that Closson pay an administrative penalty of $1 million and investigation costs of $30,000 and Closson be permanently banned from acting as an officer or director of any issuer, registrant, or investment fund manager. The ASC panel also ordered that Optam, Infinivest, and Closson be prohibited from trading in securities and advising in securities as well as a number of other sanctions.