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Former B.C. financial consultant who owes $195K in fines jailed for failing to attend court

A Surrey woman who was largely banned from the investment industry because of her involvement in a Ponzi scheme has been sent to jail for 30 days for failing to appear at a court hearing.

Former financial consultant Renee Michelle Penko was ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $40,000 and another $155,000 in fines to the B.C. Securities Commission in 2016 after a panel found that she’d participated in fraud.

Penko has not paid any of the money she owes, according to the BCSC, and failed to appear at two court hearings late last year about paying her debt.

The BCSC obtained an apprehension order and Penko surrendered to the court on Dec. 31. A B.C. Supreme Court judge found her to be in contempt of court and ordered her to spend a month in jail. 

Penko was first sanctioned in August 2016 after a BCSC panel found that she’d been part of an $11.7-million Ponzi scheme led by Thomas Arthur Williams and the Global Group of Companies. She was banned for four years from purchasing and trading in securities and most other investment activities as part of her disciplinary settlement.

Since then, the BCSC says it has taken several measures to collect the money Penko owes, but it’s come up short. A writ of seizure and sale for Penko’s possessions turned up no assets, according to a news release.

The commission issued a subpoena to debtor on Nov. 6, a measure that would require her to provide information about her financial situation and could lead to a court order for paying her debt. Penko failed to appear in court as required by the subpoena.

Her next court appearance following her jail term is scheduled for Jan. 30.

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