09/28/2012 05:39 EDT | Updated 11/28/2012 05:12 EST

$54M fine ordered in Calgary Ponzi scheme

The Alberta Securities Commission has imposed sanctions totalling nearly $54 million against three Calgary-area men and their companies.

Milowe Brost, Gary Sorenson and Dennis Morice were found guilty earlier this year of orchestrating an elaborate Ponzi scheme that swindled investors out of tens of millions of dollars, investigators said.

In handing down its ruling, the ASC panel noted: "All of the respondents were involved in perpetrating a systemic massive fraud on Alberta and other investors, involving a complicated web of domestic and offshore corporate and other entities, bank accounts and offerings.

"Investment fraud is reprehensible and completely unacceptable capital-market misconduct; instances of fraud in the capital market severely threaten the public's confidence and sense of fairness in the whole of our capital market," the panel said.

The three men are permanently banned from trading in or purchasing securities, using exemptions under Alberta securities laws, advising in securities and acting as a director or officer of any issuer.