WINDSOR, ON, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - The Toronto Integrated Market Enforcement
Team ("IMET") of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested and charged Petar
VUCICEVICH, age 43, of Harrow, Ontario, with two counts of Fraud. Restraining
Orders for 11 real properties, in the Colchester, Ontario area, were also
The investigation began following a referral from the Ontario Securities
Commission ("OSC"). The charges relate to allegations that between July 31,
2006 and December 31, 2006, VUCICEVICH orchestrated and participated in the
market manipulation of the shares of Sulja Bros. Building Supplies Ltd.
("Sulja"). Sulja is owned by Sulja Brothers Building Supplies Ltd. ("Sulja
Brothers"), a small lumberyard located in Harrow, Ontario. During the time the
alleged fraud was perpetrated, Sulja was a publicly traded company quoted on
the Pink Sheets in the United States under the symbol "SLJB".
It is alleged that VUCICEVICH, as the interim President, CEO and
controlling mind of Sulja Brothers, caused a number of false and/or misleading
press releases to be issued in order to generate and sustain interest of
prospective investors in shares of Sulja. Additional shares were issued
directly from treasury without cost to VUCICEVICH. The shares were
subsequently sold for profit on the public market through accounts allegedly
held by nominees. The profits generated from the trading of these shares was
in excess of $11.5 million(USD). Police allege that a portion of the proceeds
of the fraud were used to purchase the properties for which the Restraint
Orders were made. The properties under restraint are valued at in excess of $1
After taking control of Sulja Brothers, police believe the company was
depleted of assets and it ceased operations earlier this year, putting the
company's thirty (30) employees out of work. A new location was opened in
Calgary, Alberta and was to be known as Premium Building Supplies, however,
the business never became operational.
During the two year investigation, Toronto IMET investigators seized
volumes of documentary evidence and interviewed many witnesses including
former employees and owners of Sulja Brothers, business associates, creditors
Since December 22, 2006, Sulja Brothers, VUCICEVICH and others have been
the subject of a Temporary Cease Trade Order issued by the OSC. A hearing on
the merits in this matter is scheduled to commence on November 16, 2009 before
VUCICEVICH will appear in court in Windsor later today.
IMET is part of the RCMP's Financial Crime Program and was created to
protect the integrity of the Canadian economy and its capital markets. IMET
brings together specialized investigative skills from the RCMP and
participating agencies. The objective of IMET is to maintain investor
confidence in Canada's capital markets by deterring market fraud and theft
through enhanced enforcement and prosecution of serious market fraud and theft
offences in Canada. The investigative work of IMET complements the work of the
financial markets' regulatory organizations.
"Frauds of this nature have a destabilizing effect on the economy and
shake investor confidence in the capital markets. This particular matter had a
devastating effect on the micro economy in the small town of Harrow. Thirty
people lost their jobs and investors lost a substantial amount of money", said
Superintendent Kevin Harrison, the Officer in Charge of Toronto IMET.
He added, "We hope that the laying of criminal charges in this case sends
a clear message to perpetrators that the IMET's will aggressively investigate
complaints of this nature and, with the assistance of the Attorney General for
Ontario, vigorously prosecute the offenders. We also hope that the restraint
of the properties, a first for the IMET Program, will send a message to
fraudsters that we will also pursue their ill gotten gains."
Integrated Market Enforcement Teams are also located in Vancouver,
Montreal and Calgary as part of the Government of Canada's strategy to combat
serious capital market fraud in Canada.
For further information: Sgt. Marc LaPorte, RCMP "O" Division Media
Relations, Office: (519) 640-7302, Cell: (416) 992-4409