Swindle! Synopsis

swindle_cover-224x300Summary of contents

The definitive story of the collapse of Atlantic Acceptance Corporation, Canada’s biggest-ever swindle.  Millions of dollars of investors’ money was channeled into shaky companies run by slick promoters; and Bay Street’s white shoe investment firms along with private fixed-income investors lost their shirts.

C. Powell Morgan, the chubby chartered accountant who founded and ran what became Canada’s third biggest finance company [car loans and money for home appliances were offered at competitive rates with funds raised in Canada’s money market] was about to face the music when he died. Several principal players in the fiasco went to jail or became fugitives from justice. The main fraud involved Commodore Business Machines , whose  voracious appetite for money  Morgan conveniently met with generous financing terms—all this while Commodore’s shares were being shamelessly promoted by European boiler rooms in places like Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.

Caught in the downward spiral were companies like Analogue Controls, dummy outfits like Mortgage Trust and Savings Corp. [Bahamas] and Aurora Leasing Corp.  A big hotel-casino  project  in the Bahamas whose architect was Lou Chesler, then  Canada’s  most flamboyant promoter, also collapsed in the financial mayhem wrought by Morgan and his associates.

Other scandals

Swindle! also covers landmark frauds like Windfall Oil and Mines, run by Canada’s [until then] highly-regarded ‘Queen Bee’ of mining Viola McMillan. And the Racan Photo-Copy Corp. caper, a blatant scam based on a ‘revolutionary’ photo-copier that never existed.

Montreal’s well-established Mafia played a role in the promotion of Pan American Mines and the book also highlights the Canadian role in the ultimate collapse of Bernie Cornfeld’s grandiose I.O.S stable of mutual funds, taken over by notorious  financial gun-slinger Robert Vesco who then looted of all the assets and cash the public thought they owned. Finally, Canada’s passion for hockey created an easy $3.0 million rip-off for a group of unscrupulous investors who put their greed ahead of the National Hockey League and the Canucks, Vancouver’s home team.