A British Columbia insurance sales agent will finally answer for crimes that took place eight years ago.
This week, a B.C. Securities Commission panel ruled that Lynne Rae Nickford (known to some as Lynne Rae Zlotnick) is guilty of perpetuating fraud on 13 different investors, lying to them about their money's stated purpose and insteading redirecting it towards personal use.
Nickford, who had spent many years working in the financial-advice sector, had been running her own company, LZ Wealth Management, during the time the criminal acts were carried out. The 11 individuals and two couples she had solicited investments from were promised that their capital would help Nickford grow the business. With rates of return in the mid-teens and twenties being offered, it was seemingly a worthwhile investment, and she was able to garner nearly $2-million.
Or at least it would've been, had the money been used responsibly.
Based on the panel's findings, Nickford reportedly spent over $318,000 of the investors' money on personal expesnes. Not only was she covering personal debts with loan payments, she was gambling recklessly. Officials from B.C. Lotteries Corp. confirmed that Nickford was in the top one per cent of slot players and regularly spent between $5,000 and $10,000 in her daily visits to Vancouver's Edgewater Casino.
LZ Wealth Management eventually went bankrupt, and the investors never received their proper return.
The delay in the handling of the case was due to a certain defence that Nickford had claimed. She said she had been suffering from both mental and physical illness between 2008 and 2010, and had she been in sound health, she would have been able to properly carry out her business. After carefully studying the evidence and medical records at hand, though, the panel did not feel that there was a basis for Nickford's claims.