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Confessions of a real-estate developer gone wrong

Two Albertan land developers hit with penalties by the ASC in one day

Associate editor Geoffrey Morgan keeps an ear to the ground for business related fraud in Alberta so you don't have to. Follow him at @geoffreymorgan on Twitter or email him at gmorgan@albertaventure.com

Nov 22, 2012

by Geoffrey Morgan

The Alberta Securities Commission handed out $160,000 in penalties against two different land developers yesterday after both admitted to illegally trading and distributing securities.

David Brezsnyak was hit with the bulk of those penalties. The ASC ordered him to pay $100,000 plus $6,000 in costs. The ASC says Brezsnyak earned approximately $3.5 million between 2002 and 2011 by selling Westside Land Corp. securities to roughly 1,500 investors. The company’s business was in buying farmland near Calgary, preparing the area for development and then selling the land to a property developer. In total, the company was involved in 11 land projects, three of which were sold to developers in 2006.

In an unusual move, the ASC said Brezsnyak was “extremely cooperative” throughout the hearings against him and his company and “took immediate steps to comply with Alberta securities laws.”

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The smaller portion of the penalties the ASC handed out yesterday went to William Joseph Sander and his companies, Sundre Development Ltd. and Aspen Springs Capital. Sander reached a settlement agreement with the ASC after admitting to making misrepresentations to Albertan investors and filing misleading documents with the securities commission. Sander agreed to pay $40,000 in penalties plus $11,000 in costs and has agreed not to act as a director or officer of a securities-issuing company for eight years.

The agreement might do little to placate the 32 investors in Sander’s companies who collectively put $1.3 million into a recreational real-estate development project on 160 acres of land near Sundre. In its original allegations, the ASC said no development had ever been built on the land, and that the promise of developing 400 units on the property was misleading, given that the company had never even applied to subdivide the land.

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