01/10/2013 11:18 EST | Updated 03/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Pair behind $5.7M investment scheme banned by BCSC

Two directors of a B.C. company that financially crippled more than 80 people have been permanently banned by the B.C. Securities Commission.

Ingram Eshun and Maisie Smith operated JV Raleigh Superior Holdings.

According to the B.C. Securities Commission, the pair raised $5.7 million by convincing people to dip into RRSPs or re-mortgage their homes over a three-year period ending in 2009.

Commission spokesperson Richard Gilhooly says the pair promised high returns on a variety of investments.

"There's a nurse who lost over $75,000, there's several retirees that lost in the tens of thousands of dollars, there's a cashier at a grocery store that lost over $275,000,” Gilhooly said.

The commission says there is no record of how the money was spent, and it appears about $4 million was given to companies at which Eshun and Smith were directors or officers.

Both Eshun and Smith have been fined and ordered to repay the victims.

"What is unfortunate is that there doesn't appear to be a market for the securities these investors have purchased, nor is there any evidence that there is any present or future value, so you can imagine what the impact of that will be,” Gilhooly said.

“It's very serious.”

It's believed the pair has left the country.

Gilhooly admits it’s very unlikely any of the money will be recovered.

The commission recommends anybody planning to invest should check its consumer protection website and get a second opinion.