Concrete Equities’ Varun “Vinny” Aurora Pleads Guilty to Fraud

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog about the debacle that was Concrete Equities, but the wheels of justice move slowly – when they move at all – in the realm of white-collar crime. Finally though, some good news:

“While one of his victims sobbed in the back of a Calgary courtroom, a city man pleaded guilty Friday for his role in bilking $23 million from hundreds of investors. Varun (Vinny) Aurora pleaded guilty in provincial court to fraud over $5,000 in a scheme centring on Mexican real estate investments. His own father lost the largest amount — $901,000 — in the fraud run by Concrete Equities Inc. that roped in 1,200 investors, about 20 of whom showed up in court. The play, which began in 2007, sold investor units in a Mexican development known as the El Golfo project, whose purchase price Concrete Equities greatly inflated for investors.”
Calgary Herald Article

What kind of a person would defraud his own father out of $901,000? I’ll leave that for you to decide. While I’m glad to see him charged and his guilty plea, I am stunned at the “justice” being served here: according to this CBC article, he will spend no time in jail. Incredible – just incredible. ? $23 million dollars was stolen from 1200 people – much of it retirement savings – and he doesn’t go to jail. His punishment?

“He will also have to perform 240 hours of community service, hand in his passport, report to a probation office and abide by a 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew — except for the first six months when he will be confined to his house 24 hours a day except for work and approved appointments.”

Based on that, it sounds quite profitable to defraud people, doesn’t it? The law has been changed since this started, and if someone was found guilty of the same fraud today in Alberta, they’d have a minimum jail time of two years. That new law doesn’t apply to this old case. The Alberta Securities Commission judgement against them is equally as toothless: Vinny Aurora has only paid $63.70 of the $500,000 fine imposed on him by the ASC in 2014. What’s the point of the ASC then you might ask? Good question.

According to this Huffington Post article, the charges were filed against Vinny Aurora in January 2014. And now, almost three years later, he’s plead guilty. Dave Humeniuk was also charged at that time, but his trial doesn’t even start until November 2017.

Here’s a scan of the article from the Calgary Herald in case the link above stops working: