Quebec Minister says Ponzi scheme victims share blame for situation

Premier Jean Charest offers kinder words

Quebec Premier Jean Charest offered only sympathy this weekend, after one of his ministers implied that clients of the Canadian financial advisor Earl Jones—now charged with four counts each of fraud and theft—should take some blame for the situation. It is estimated that Jones’ investors were swindled of $30-$50 million. But Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand said that he couldn’t do anything to help. He also blasted clients for not alerting authorities sooner when, when their monthly cheques from Jones stopped arriving. Authorities “did not even get a call. If you don’t complain to the police, it’s tough to help you,” Bachand charged.

On Sunday, the premier reacted, offering sympathy to investors who lost their savings. And although Charest did not make an official offer to compensate victims, he said the province would examine proposals to ease the tax burden of Jones’ clients. “It puts them in a terrible situation,” Charest acknowledged. “Because it’s money and it’s not violence, there’s sometimes a tendency not to see it as bad a crime as it really is on people’s lives.”

Canwest News Service