A Lethbridge, Alberta-based ticket broker recently was fined $110,000 by the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) for illegally selling securities in a plan to raise millions of dollars for his business.
Jason Hunt, owner of Front Row Tickets, raised more than $15 million as a result of the alleged deception, and he also was banned from buying or selling securities in the province for 10 years by the ASC. The financial authority also leveled a host of fines and penalties against other companies and individuals allegedly involved in the plot.
In total, the ASC imposed $385,000 in fines as a result of its investigation, and the agency admitted that due to Front Row Tickets’ shoddy bookkeeping, it is not entirely sure how much more than $15 million the business raised illegally.
“Some portion (we do not know how much) of that $15 million was returned to investors during the time Front Row carried out its securities-related activities and operations,” the commission wrote in its decision. “However, some Front Row investors did not – and may never – receive a return of their principal, the promised interest or both.”
Front Row allegedly offered returns on the securities of 5 percent after 60 days up to a lavish sum of 152 percent after a year. The company sold the fraudulent securities between 2005 and 2007, according to the ASC.
The commission stopped short of calling Front Row Tickets inherently dishonest or malicious in its intent, and also said the illegal sale of securities was not necessarily part of a “fraudulent scheme,” because the business had been a viable operation that paid investors by successfully buying and reselling tickets for a profit. But, the ASC made it clear that the company’s activities violated the province’s securities regulations, and those activities were orchestrated by Hunt as the “sole director, officer and shareholder” of Front Row Tickets. The others involved were business accomplices or securities traders.
A spokesperson for the ASC did not return a message seeking comment. Hunt could not be reached for comment. Eight individuals and three companies, including Front Row Tickets, were penalized as a result of the ASC probe. All were barred from buying or selling securities for various lengths of time, and were forced to some sort of financial fine.
“Some of the Individual Respondents expressly accepted responsibility for their actions, acknowledging that they should have been more careful about becoming involved, and playing a part, in the trades and distributions of the Front Row securities without ensuring compliance with Alberta securities laws,” the ASC wrote. “Other of the Individual Respondents did not seem to have as fully – or at all – reached or acknowledged such an understanding.”