UPDATE: In the end, during the second investigation into Gregory Carrington, David Baines helped bring him to justice. In retrospect, after writing this article, I was a little hard on Baines- BC is the securities fraud capital of the world, and he has a hard job keeping on-top of things. Regardless, Carrington is busted now, and hopefully no others will be subjected to his criminality in the future.
I began writing this article back in the days of Occupy Vancouver, but got sidetracked with all of the craziness that happened there. It was obviously not the time and place to discuss such an important issue. But, today, I received some good news- so, the right time is now…
Back in 2008 I worked as a technical project manager for Webnet Global. It was a small company, and was an unusual place for me to seek work. But, love will make one do funny things- I wanted to live nearby someone I was in a relationship with, so I decided to do the unexpected and take a job out in the suburbs.
Technically, Webnet was rather interesting to me, at least, on paper. They had built a rather large telecom network across BC’s lower mainland region using ‘WiFi’ technologies. The company’s approach had the promise of building networks at much lower cost than traditional wireless services, I found this rather exciting and jumped-in with both feet.
The company had built a half-decent network. There were certainly issues- but, the technical staff were smart, creative, and had a genuine will to create something new and exciting. But, as time wore on, I began to notice that the company’s executives were not very motivated to follow-through on building the network. Instead, they spent much more time time focusing on marketing the company’s ‘investment opportunity” rather than marketing its services.
The longer i was there, the more obvious it became- something was seriously wrong with this imbalance. So, I began investigating the company’s executives, and it became apparent that they were up to no good. It took another three months until I had gathered enough evidence. I searched the Internet, had informal conversations with people in the company’s business office, and spent time studying how they marketed on the investment side. When I was finished with my investigation, I had no doubt that the company was a fraud.
I brought this to another member of the company’s management and we discussed the reality until we were both certain of my conclusion. Then, I took the next step and called the BC Securities Commission (BCSC)- it was time to blow the whistle on these grifters. As most of my readers know, I have little tolerance for people who take advantage of others…
My first meeting with the BCSC was highly disappointing- it was immediately obvious to me why people like Gregory Carrington felt comfortable committing such blatant frauds. If there is a reason that British Columbia is the securities fraud capital of the world- the BCSC is at the core of it.
The BCSC staff started off the meeting on the wrong-foot. I was a technical manager who came in as a whistleblower, and who sent a large amount of documentation before I arrived, yet they treated me with great suspicion. They did little ‘tricks’ to make me uncomfortable- for example, calling me by my full name ‘Gregory’ instead of ‘Greg’. It wasn’t until the end of the meeting that I understood why- they were incompetent, and were uncomfortable how my information and testimony proved that.
I informed them that, despite the main goal of the company was to defraud investors, the technical department had built a valuable network. We had antennas on the roofs of dozens of buildings, and the establishment for a profitable business. You should have seen the looks on their faces- they said they had been investigating for ‘some time now’ yet they had no clue about the antennas (viewable in plain-sight) across the region. For an investigative organization, the BCSC can’t investigate itself out of a paper bag.
My colleague and I tried to get them to agree to help us with a management takeover of the network- but, the BCSC had little interest. In the end, once they issued their trading ban on Webnet securities, the network was shut down and over 100 people lost their jobs.
I called David Baines later that week- the Vancouver Sun’s ‘intrepid’ securities fraud investigator. After explaining to him all of the (solid) evidence I had gathered, he declined the story. He kind of laughed at it- saying “The BCSC is a toothless organization, good luck trying to get anything done with them.” Curiously, in an article earlier this month, David wrote an article about Webnet with a lot of the information I gave him five years ago. In his article he tries to make himself appear to be a hero who solved the case. Perhaps, but only five years after I brought it to him…
So, now, years later, the BCSC finally ‘got their man’. Only, dozens of people lost their jobs, and many more lost good chunks of their life savings. It wasn’t until Gregory Carrington started another scam, and may years of his being a free man, that he was finally arrested last week.
As the whistleblower who brought the fraud to their attention, and an employee who lost a few paycheques, I’m happy to see justice is finally being brought against this evil man. But, still, it was many years too late. And, BC’s reputation as the global securities fraud capital hasn’t changed yet. Still, to this day, people are losing their life savings to BC based frauds- and, the BCSC is no less toothless and no more competent than it was back then. British Columbia is a ponzi scheme, and the BCSC is a core part of it.