Chilliwack man hit with million-dollar fine for fraud

Rodney Wharram found guilty of bilking investors in The Falls Resort, banned from trading for life

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 3, 2015 edition of the Chilliwack Times.

The man accused of bilking investors in The Falls Resort in Chilliwack out of millions of dollar has been fined more than $1 million and permanently banned from the province’s capital markets by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC).

The BCSC panel found Rodney James Wharram, West Karma Ltd. and the Falls Capital Corp. committed fraud when they took $139,000 from Falls Capital, deposited it with West Karma, and then used it for Wharram’s personal expenses.

Wharram also took $130,000 from Deercrest Construction Fund Inc., deposited it with West Karma and then used it for his personal expenses.

And both Wharram and Deercrest were found to have committed fraud when they took $265,000 directly from Deercrest’s bank accounts and used it for Wharram’s personal expenses.

During his hearing in early 2014, the BCSC said Wharram used investors’ funds to buy a $24,000 diamond ring for his wife and lend her $240,000 to invest in a grocery store and to purchase a home.

On Tuesday, Wharram, who still lives in Chilliwack, told the Times he paid back that money and that the BCSC got it all wrong. He claims the panel — which he called a “kangaroo court” — manipulated evidence. He points to the fact that he was originally accused of taking more than $5 million and only found to have taken $517,000 as proof he “won.”

Further, Wharram admits to making foolish accounting moves, but he insists the final amount that he still can’t account for is just over $100,000.

All the above money the BCSC found him to have taken was originally raised to develop The Falls in Chilliwack.

“In this case, the investor losses were significant,” the BCSC panel wrote in its decision. “Wharram’s fraudulent misconduct was significant and repeatedly deceitful. As a consequence, it is necessary, for deterrence purposes, to order a significant administrative fine. Other market participants must know that significant financial sanctions will follow this type of misconduct.”

The panel ordered Wharram pay $517,500 to the commission, the amount he fraudulently took from investors, and pay a $500,000 administrative penalty.

Wharram was also ordered to resign any position he holds in any “issuer or registrant,” and similarly permanently prohibited from becoming a director or officer of any issuer or registrant.

The panel also ordered that the Falls, Deercrest, and West Karma be permanently cease-traded.

One of Wharram’s victims, Arnold Earl, a High River, Alta., pensioner, said in 2014 that he knew there was no guarantee that he would recoup his money, but he didn’t imagine the money he invested wouldn’t help develop The Falls.

“He definitely had the gift of the gab,” Earl told the Times of Wharram. “I went in with my eyes wide open knowing something could happen.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack man who sexually assaulted young boys released from prison

Statutory release for Don Putt who Parole Board calls an ‘untreated sex offender’

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Young hurt by flu bug

Past mirrors present as Chilliwack wrestles with a flu bug in January of 1979.

Teen accused in Abbotsford attack on 85-year-old convicted of firearms offence

Brandon Janveaux found in vehicle in Chilliwack with .22-calibre rifle down his pants

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault at Hougen Park

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read