For the last year-and-a-half, 70-year-old Bill Janman has studied Canadian tax laws in all their complexity, as he battles the federal government to recoup tax money after losing millions in a Ponzi scheme.
The latest chapter in his fight came Monday, when he presented 700 pages of documents about his case and took the witness stand in Calgary at the Tax Court of Canada.
Janman and his wife lost more than $2 million after investing in Base Finance. They along with hundreds of others collectively lost about $137 million.
Arnold Breitkreutz, his company, Base Finance, and office manager Susan Elizabeth Way were fined and sanctioned in 2019 by the Alberta Securities Commission, which described the case as “among the worst frauds perpetrated in Alberta.” The commission also described Breitkreutz and Way as carrying out “a fraud by deceiving investors and operating a Ponzi scheme.”
Both were arrested by RCMP and face charges of fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000 for allegedly using the funds raised to pay off other investors. Their trial is scheduled for next year.
Janman and his wife were never able to recover any of their money and have since tried to amend their tax returns from 2006 to 2011 and 2014 because they included fraudulent T5s from Base Finance. A T5 slip reports the various types of investment income.
Instead of showing an investment return from those years, the T5s should show a loss as a result of the fraud.
Janman knows the millions invested in the scheme are gone, but he wants the Canada Revenue Agency to acknowledge victims of fraud and allow them to make changes to past tax returns.
CRA says couple ‘out of time’
However, the CRA argues that the couple is too late — that the deadlines have passed for the couple to file their notice of objection or apply for an extension of time to do so. The last deadline was in the spring of 2017.
“They are each out of time for all of the tax years,” said Adam Pasichnyk, the federal government lawyer who was representing the CRA, during the hearing.
Going back and amending those tax returns would result in a collective refund of about $200,000, according to Janman. He said the CRA did offer a partial settlement of about half that amount, but he rejected it because Janman said he has done nothing wrong and is entitled to his full refund.
In court, Janman repeated his argument that there was no reason for him or his wife to file an objection with the CRA because it was only in 2018 that authorities began releasing their findings into Base Finance.
WATCH | Bill Janman says most fraud victims give up on their fight with the CRA, but he won’t:
“We are not fortune tellers nor do we have a crystal ball or any ability to see the future. If we had, we would have known that Base was a Ponzi scheme in 2005, not invested any additional money and not be here today,” he said.
“We could not have filed objections in any of the years because we simply did not know that Base was a Ponzi scheme.”
Janman represents an informal group of about 300 other victims who lost money in the fraud case, most of which are seniors.
“There are people like us that quit. I just got angry and decided I would see this through,” said Janman, who represented himself and his wife during the hearing because he said they don’t have the money for a lawyer.
“Our case here today is an insignificant amount to Canada Revenue Agency. To us, it’s a big deal.”
Justice Kathleen Lyons will make a ruling next week on some aspects of the case. Another hearing will be scheduled in the future.
Investors in Base Finance thought their money was secured by mortgages on real estate in Alberta. Instead, it was loaned to a man to buy oil and gas assets in the U.S. or used to buy properties for personal use, according to authorities.
Some investors were paid so-called interest payments in order to maintain the facade of a legitimate investment operation, but the payouts actually came from newer investors’ money.
Base Finance has gone into receivership and the process is still ongoing.
J&J Coronavirus vaccine candidate – induced immune response, showed acceptable safety profile – ForexLive
Johnson & Johnson’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine phase 1/2 trial findings have provided some encouragement.
- induced immune responses in most people who received the shot
- displayed an acceptable safety profile
Now for some caveats. These are from a small early-stage trial. They are interim, posted on online preprint server medRxiv. The report is not yet peer-reviewed, not yet published in medical journals.
J&J have said that they’ll now carry on with a larger late-stage study of up to 60,000 people that will provide more definitive evidence.
- The vaccine — called Ad26.COV2.S — uses the same technology used for Johnson & Johnson’s Ebola, Zika, HIV and RSV vaccines.
COVID-19 pandemic taking toll on mental health, Alberta survey says – CBC.ca
An online survey of Albertans who reached out for help over COVID-19 suggests the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, with increased signs of obsessive behaviour, stress and depression.
Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, has just published results of a survey he took of people who subscribed to Text-4-Hope, a government service that provides a daily reassuring text message.
He found abut 60 per cent of respondents had become worried about dirt, germs and viruses since the COVID outbreak.
About 54 per cent had begun washing their hands “very often or in a special way,” which could be considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Nearly 50 per cent were considered likely candidates for anxiety disorders, and more than 40 per cent were likely clinically depressed.
And almost 85 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high stress.
Agyapong cautions the sample isn’t representative and that some level of stress and unusual behaviour is understandable in the current situation.
But he says his findings suggest the pandemic is affecting the public’s mental health.
WATCH: 'Virtual' Rotaryfest 2020 at 7 pm – SooToday
Despite an unprecedented year of obstacles, one of Sault Ste. Marie’s longest-running traditions returns in a brand new format. The Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie is present Virtual Rotaryfest, streaming on SooToday.
“Our Rotary Club has been celebrating Rotaryfest for almost 100 years – so when it became clear it couldn’t happen in the way it always has, we knew we had to find a creative way to still bring some of the fun of the festival to Sault Ste. Marie,” shared Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie President, Megan Wigmore. “With the virtual format this year, not only do we get to see some of our favourite local bands and performers that have become festival fixtures; we get to bring in some former Saultites to join the party as well!”
One of those former Saultites is Crystal Shawanda. The JUNO Award winning Canadian songstress will headline the virtual event with a Rotaryfest-exclusive performance. The online celebration of music will also include performances from crowd favourites Jay Case and Frank Deresti, Jackson Reed, Mustang Heart, Kelly MacGillivray, Kt Antler & Kyle McKey, Bone Yard, and Tyson Hanes.
This year’s Virtual Rotaryfest has been made possible through the generous support of OLG, SooToday, and Canadian Heritage.
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