The wife of securities fraudster Earle Pasquill is suing the BC Securities Commission (BCSC) for abuse of process, claiming the regulator filed “frivolous” legal claims that ensnared $20 million in property she claims she acquired before her husband ran afoul of the law.
Vicki Pasquill and her company, Vicker Holdings Ltd., filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on December 12. Pasquill claims the BCSC brought lawsuits against her and the company in 2018 “which it had no authority to bring and which were based on frivolous factual and legal pretexts.”
According to the claim, the commission brought the lawsuits to put pressure on Earle Pasquill to satisfy a $21.7 million judgment for a 2008 securities fraud related to Earle Pasquill’s Freedom Investment Club. The lawsuits, Vicki Pasquill claims, were an attempt to “mitigate public image damage resulting from adverse media coverage” after the Vancouver Sun revealed that the commission had not collected more than $500 million in fines and penalties between 2007 and 2017.
Vicki Pasquill and her company claim the properties targeted by the BCSC were obtained “long before” her husband’s fraud. Assessed at more than $20 million in 2018, Pasquill’s properties include the couple’s primary residence on 27th Avenue; her childhood home on 40th Avenue, which she inherited in 1998; two properties jointly owned with her daughters; a property inherited from her aunt on 7th Avenue; and two properties Vicker Holdings bought in 1981.
Pasquill, a retired teacher, claims the BCSC filed the lawsuits while “aware of the limited income and economic vulnerability” of Pasquill and Vicker.
“The Commission’s frivolous and highly publicized claim that the plaintiffs knowingly received the ‘proceeds of fraud’ and used it to acquire and maintain their properties has caused severe mental distress to Vicki Pasquill,” the claim states. “This distress has resulted in severe mental fatigue due to the inability to sleep. Most recently, this mental fatigue led to a serious fall resulting in a broken arm and cracked bones in her ankle and wrist.”
Moreover, she claims, the BCSC’s certificates of pending litigation against her properties have caused her “financial hardship” as a 74-year-old retiree on a fixed income.
“She is unable to cover her daily expenses without the help of her children and also has more significant expenses … that she is unable to pay,” the claim states.
Pasquill and Vicker Holdings seek damages for abuse of process and misfeasance in public office. The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and the BCSC had not responded to the claim by press time.