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In a recently published article in BIV – Business Intelligence For British Columbia and entitled, “B.C couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules,” Graeme Wood shares developments in the case of Thalbinder Singh Poonian and Shailu Poonian, a British Columbian couple who are permanently banned from working in the capital markets after a British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) panel found they had misappropriated approximately $7 million from unsuspecting investors. According to the 2015 BCSC decision, the Poonians sold overpriced shares to unsophisticated investors through a business entity that advised people on how to pay off debts by accessing their retirement savings accounts. Ordered to repay 5.5 million to investors and an additional 13.5 million in administrative penalties, the Poonians’ case has stalled over the years on multiple accounts. Last year, the BCSC secured a declaration from the BC Supreme Court exempting the Poonians from bankruptcy proceedings, which the couple appealed and the Court of Appeal denied in a ruling on August 5, 2022. As a result, the Poonians must pay the $19 million they owe in full. 

Further, in 2021, the Poonians lost an appeal to the Minister of National Revenue to have their debt (including an additional $6 million in unpaid taxes) discharged. With debt forgiveness provided to those who require a “fresh start,” the BC Supreme Court specified that the Poonians, who continue to deny misconduct and have yet to repay any of their debts, do not fit this profile and that their actions were “morally unacceptable and harmful to society, such that they should not be rewarded with a release of those debts.”