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Member quit Hofman-club in disgust after trying year

Investment document of 1965 telling

Tags: Hofman Case Investigation

VANCOUVER, B.C. - While investors with fugitive accountant Fred Hofman are wondering about their millions, at least one former member of a 1965-investment club led by Hofman still likes to know what happened to the $850 he contributed then to the club's war chest. Six men each chipped in $500 to get the club off and running, this month exactly thirty years ago. 'Even though I pressed him regularly for information, I never got a clear answer,' says Binne, a Dutch-Canadian professional.

Hofman, who then already was active on the Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE) where he was involved with 'penny stocks,' drafted a ten-point memorandum which was signed by the five men present at the meeting. Since one name was scratched off and two others penciled in, it is fairly certain that the investments amounted to $5,000 by the time Ben quit the group in disgust.

'Income secondary'

The 1965 document is remarkable in that it shows Hofman's approach as an 'consultant' to investors who were expected to agree to pay into a special savings account set up in the name of Fred Hofman, who also was 'to look after the administration.' That the investments were to be speculative is born out by the stipulation that income was to be secondary to capital gains. The memorandum also spelled out how the funds were to be invested, with one fifth of the portfolio each going into speculative mining issues, warrants, industrials, space and research issues, with the final block to be available for 'special opportunities.'

Unofficial tally

Binne stayed with the club three months longer than the minimum requirement but never saw a penny of his investment again. Having serious doubts about Hofman's business ethics, Binne raised his concern with a number of leaders in the community but quickly discovered that he, the messenger, instead was subjected to scrutiny. Severely disappointed, Binne turned his back on the community.

Since then Hofman had several encounters with the Securities Commission officials, leading to a heavy fine and banning him from the stock market and securities trading. Meanwhile, the RCM Police concluded its two-year investigation of Hofman some time ago and charged him with over sixty counts of fraud and theft. It since issued a Canada wide warrant for Hofman's arrest. In addition, the RCMP issued Interpol arrest warrants but has no substantial information on Hofman's whereabouts. Hofman was last seen on an Amsterdam-bound Martinair-charter flight, April 1991. Court documents claim Hofman owes over $10 million in missing funds but an unofficial tally puts the amount at over $20 million. A large block of missing funds belonged - but not exclusively - to retired Dutch-Canadians, several of whom lost their homes and life's savings.