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B.C. securities fraudster stripped of driving privileges in unprecedented case

The B.C. Securities Commission has successfully applied the new policy of enforcing non-renewal of a B.C. driver's licence for a debtor in default of payments.

A Richmond man found to have committed a multimillion-dollar securities fraud has lost his appeal to block an application by the B.C. Securities Commission to strip him of his driving privileges.

Paul Oei was found to have defrauded Chinese immigrants of just over $5 million, according to a commission panel ruling in December 2017. His actions spun a web of hearings and lawsuits, some of them ongoing.

Oei was unsuccessful in his appeal of the administrative ruling and ordered to pay $7.6 million back to the commission: a $4.5-million administrative penalty and another $3.1 million for the amount he retained from his misconduct.

In August 2021, the commission filed an application to ICBC — the first of its kind — to prevent Oei from renewing his driver’s licence. This followed amendments to the B.C. Securities Act in March 2021 granting the commission the right to do so with any debtor who is found in default of payments.

Oei, who was known to drive luxury sports vehicles, appealed the application before a commission panel of adjudicators. He said he needed a licence in order to drive his father-in-law to a hospital in the event of an emergency. He noted his wife could not do so, as she is working full-time.

He also claimed a licence would help him find a job; Oei told the panel he had applied to become a car salesman although at this time he was starting a “customer support role for a communications company,” according to the ruling.

Oei “advised us that he does not own a car. He said that because of his lack of credibility resulting from the findings that have been made against him by the commission, no one is going to hire him. He also advised us that he has no assets and suggested that given his inability to pay, the amount of the sanctions decision should be lowered.”

The panel found no evidence he required a car to find meaningful employment; his argument that he needed a vehicle in emergencies for his father-in-law didn’t hold water considering an ambulance can be called in such instances, according to the panel.

The panel noted “significant sums of money were fraudulently misappropriated” by Oei and yet he continued to “show no remorse or responsibility for his role in the fraud.”

The panel — made up of Gordon Johnson, Deborah Armour QC and James Kershaw — noted Oei has taken no steps to enter into a payment arrangement.

Oei noted he is currently unable to pay anything to the commission, having earned about $7,000 in 2020 and about $12,400 in 2021.

The ruling can be found online.

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