Thank you for asking me to contribute to the Earl Jones Victims Rights Group blog. By way of introduction I will identify myself: John Allore, I have been blogging about victims' rights for close to 6 years now over at Who Killed Theresa?. My blog takes it's focus from the murder of my sister, Theresa in Compton, Quebec - but it's really about the road people take when they find themselves on the victim side of the crime equation. I have found myself faced with much of the Quebec bureaucratic inertia you are all facing now, and hope to use my experience as a means to improve yours. I have been asked by a financial crime victim from the Earl Jones fallout in Montreal to give some advice on where to go / who to contact for victims' assistance. Since, we now have word of a second Ponzi scheme in Montreal, and that there is the likelihood that these types of crimes are to increase, I will post my comments here so they may be beneficial to any financial fraud victim.
What I would do if I was a victim of financial fraud in Quebec:
Step 1 - Learn from Madoff
The Bernard Madoff case precedes Earl Jones by about 18 months. Madoff has gone to trial, been sentenced and is now serving time about 30 miles up the road from where I live. Consequently I would study everything victims did in regard to Madoff and learn from it. Start by contacting NOVA, The Office of Victims of Crime and theAttorney General's Office for the state of New York. True, Canada has very different laws and will undoubtedly follow a different process, but it would be good to understand the Madoff process for victims in the event that Canada / Quebec has yet to develop a procedure for handling financial crime victims of this scope (which is more likely the case).
Step 2 - Know your Quebec Acronyms
BAVAC is the crime victims assistance office set up in the Ministry of .
CAVACs are divisions of BAVAC and are the actual regional victims assistance offices.
CSST is the commission of health and safety and they oversee the Act for victims compensation but the...
IVAC is the agency that actually doles out victims compensation.
Step 3 - Ethics violations
Autorite Des Marches Financiers is the Montreal-based securities regulator for Quebec that is being blamed for poor oversight of financial investors in the Province. They are undoubtedly under the control of a Quebec agency probably housed in the Finance Minister's portfolio and as such either they and / or the Finance Minister should fall under the authority of of a pretty strict ethics process (deotologie). If an ethics violation is suspected, a complaint should immediately be placed with the agency / Ministry.
Step 4 - Other short term resources
- Heidi Illingsworth with the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime
- Randy McCall with Victims Assistance Online
At the very least both are very knowledgeable about Canadian victims issues and should be able to tell you what's happening with victims of financial crimes in other areas of the country.
Step 5 - Long term resources
If you are aiming for eventual reform of legislation and better oversight of investors you will need the assistance of either the Canadian Crime Victims Ombudsman and the Policy Center for Victims Issues. Understand that these two bodies work at the high level of victims issues and cannot be expected to assist you with immediate needs.