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B.C. craft brewery supplier faces fraud allegations

Hops grower Alexander William Bridges allegedly misappropriated about $500,000 of investors' money.
The B.C. Securities Commission oversees and regulates public share distributions.

B.C.’s securities regulator has levied serious allegations against two B.C. men involved in the craft brewery industry.

The B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) alleges Alexander William Bridges and his company Fraser Valley Hop Farms Inc. (FVHF) committed fraud against 18 investors who invested over $1.8 million for a hops farm the company purported to be in development.

However, the commission claims Bridges and the company used about $500,000 of those funds on expenses unrelated to the farm and illegally distributed securities to 13 investors.

Bridges, a.k.a. Alex Blackwell, controlled the company’s bank accounts and solicited the investments between December 2016 and July 2018.

Also implicated in alleged misconduct is marketing director and de facto company director Shane Douglas Harder-Toews, who allegedly illegally distributed securities by not filing a prospectus — a formal document providing details of an investment — and without an exemption.

“FVHF and Bridges represented to the investors, either directly or through Harder-Toews, that their funds would be used on the hops farm. Instead, they used approximately $500,000 of the investors’ funds to pay Bridges, make cash withdrawals and pay other expenses unrelated to the hops farm,” states the Nov. 7 hearing notice.

The BCSC’s allegations have not been proven.

The commission requires the respondents to appear at the BCSC’s offices on Dec. 7, 2022 if they wish to be heard before a hearing is scheduled.

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