A disgruntled investor in a suspected Costa Rica-based Ponzi scheme apparently tried - unsuccessfully- to hire a hit man to kill the head of one of the funds recommended by the scheme. The suspected Ponzi scheme, Voyageur Foundation ("Voyageur"), is an "investment club" that charged investors membership fees in return for recommending accredited investment opportunities to investors. It is currently under investigation stemming from its inability to repay more than $65 million to approximately 1,000 Canadian investors. The foundation stopped granting redemption requests from investors last year, and has since been barred from soliciting clients or selling investments by securities regulators in Quebec.
One of the funds recommended by Voyageur was the Admiralty Fund, run by former Calgary lawyer Richard Devries. According to Devries, the Admiralty Fund received money from a Voyageur-controlled company that subsequently funnelled money into Admiralty. Calgary businessman Nicholas Djokich suspected that Devries was involved in the scheme as a result of his inability to have his investment returned, and tried to hire an agent posing as a contract killer to kidnap Devries and force him to wire money back to Djokich. According to the agent, Djokich stated that he wouldn't mind if the hit man "took (DeVries) fishing and he never came back." However, the contract killer Djokich thought he hired turned out to be an undercover US agent, and Djokich was subsequently arrested and sentenced to twenty years in federal prison in October 2010.
Voyageur, founded by the Jarman family out of British Colombia, solicited investors by promising access to exclusive investment opportunities through annual membership fees. Approximately 1,000 investors entrusted more than $65 million with Voyageur, which sought to comfort investors about its legitimacy by telling investors that third-party firms were used to perform "due diligence" on the investments. However, subsequent investigation has shown that these claims were false. Indeed, members of the Jarman family or their relatives are alleged to have served as officers for these firms, as well as for investment firms recommended by Voyageur. Additionally, those family members are said to have received commissions `for investments made by Voyageur investors. Thus, members of the Jarman family apparently gave advice on whether to invest in Jarman-controlled entities.
Additionally, Voyageur made substantial investments in Merendon Mining Company, a Canadian company run by Gary Sorenson, who is currently facing charges that he operated a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of as much as $400 million. After Sorenson was arrested in connection with that fraud, payments to the Voyageur-affiliated investment funds soon stopped, and investors were left unable to withdraw any of their funds.
Little is known about Voyageur or its affiliated investment funds, as neither has issued prospectuses or financial reports. Additionally, the funds' Costa Rican origin also presents transparency issues.