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North Vancouver man pleads guilty to stealing $1M from investors

The first victim was a personal friend who later urged other friends and family members to invest
A North Vancouver man has now pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1 million from his friend and other investors. | North Shore News files

A North Vancouver man who stole more than $1 million from investors he was advising has pleaded guilty in court.

Ward Derek Jensen, 55, was arrested in 2022 and charged with nine counts of fraud and four counts of forgery, following a B.C. Securities Commission investigation. He was scheduled to go to trial last month but instead he appeared in North Vancouver provincial court on Jan. 29 to plead guilty to one charge of theft over $5,000.

According to an agreed statement of facts submitted to the court, Jensen admitted to stealing US$971,585 from nine investors. He had promised them he could generate returns of 14 to 18 per cent annually through a Chicago-based private investment fund, administered through his B.C. company, Kassel Enterprises.

“In reality, he misappropriated investor funds for his personal use and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of investor funds making bad stock trades through his own personal brokerage account,” a release from the B.C. Securities Commission stated. “Jensen concealed his theft and the trading losses he incurred by providing forged monthly statements to his victims showing their investments growing continuously over time.”

At the time, neither Jensen nor his company were registered to trade securities as required by B.C.’s Securities Act.

The BCSC release notes that Jensen’s first victim was a close personal friend who later referred their friends and family members. According to the release, at one point Jensen texted the friend to apologize for his actions.

“What I have done is unforgivable and I never meant for any of this to happen,” the text read. “I’m so sorry I have betrayed you and your family and friends.”

An investigation of Jensen’s banking records found he rarely if ever had enough funds to return investors’ principal, let alone the income he purported to be making for them. When one victim asked to withdraw funds, Jensen lied and said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had frozen the funds in his account, the release states.

Jensen has been on bail since he was arrested in October of 2022. During that time, he has been under court order to have no contact with his victims and not participate in selling, promoting or trading securities. Jensen applied for and the Crown agreed to bail conditions that would allow him to travel to Mexico each year in December.

Jensen is due back in court for a sentencing hearing in May.

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