Vancouver COVID condo party host banned from investment industry

A Vancouver resident who gained notoriety for running a downtown condo booze can at the height of COVID-lockdown measures has been penalized $160,000 and banned from the investment industry.

Mohammad Movassaghi forged signatures and misled investigators with the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), according to an independent hearing panel.

The investment dealer regulator stated March 16 penalties against Movassaghi have been finalized, including a permanent ban on any registration with IIROC, $50,000 for the forgeries, $50,000 for misleading investigators and $60,000 for hearing costs (about half of what it cost IIROC).

The panel said Movassaghi’s improper actions, which occurred between July and September 2016, “caused significant harm to the reputation of the marketplace and to market integrity; were criminal or quasi-criminal in nature; demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to act in and honest and fair manner in dealings with clients, the public, and the securities industry as a whole; and prejudiced the ability of IIROC to effectively perform its regulatory functions in the public interest.”

Movassaghi had previously settled his case with the IIROC. He admitted in July 2017 to falsifying a client’s signature on forms to facilitate the transfer of investment accounts from Investors Group Financial Services Inc. to Harbourfront Wealth Management Inc., where he was a brokerage manager.

But investigators subsequently found more forged signatures and re-opened the case against him, according to the March 4 decision.

VIOLATED COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS

Last April, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Ellen Gordon handed Movassaghi 18 months of probation and 10 days of time served plus a day in jail after he was found guilty of breaching the Public Health Act and illegally selling alcohol following a January 2021 party.

The Vancouver Police Department stated it discovered Movassaghi, 43, “was running an illegal booze can and show lounge inside his 1,100-square-foot penthouse, packing it with hundreds of people, and violating COVID-19 health orders.”

Gordon issued a rebuke of Movassaghi in her April 28, 2021 ruling: “If someone who had been at your party was infected and passed it on to Grandma, as far as I am concerned, you would be guilty of manslaughter. What you did, sir, is comparable to individuals who sell fentanyl to the people on the street who die every day. There is no difference. You voluntarily assumed the risk that could kill people in the midst of a pandemic.”

Movassaghi began hosting more parties over the summer, prompting a second police investigation. 

He subsequently pleaded guilty to two more counts of failing to comply with health orders and an additional count of illegally selling alcohol. He was sentenced to 29 days in jail, handed an additional 12 months of probation and fined $10,000 last November, according to Vancouver police.

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