Canada
Bail lowered from $1M for accused in alleged Calgary ponzi scheme

Calgary businessman Milowe Brost in Honduras ,he is alleged of conducting an elaborate "Ponzi-like scheme" that roped in thousands of investors in Canada and the U.S. out of $400 million dollars.

Credits: QMI AGENCY

KEVIN MARTIN | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY -- Alleged Ponzi scheme mastermind Milowe Brost will be freed from custody after a judge on Friday lowered his $1-million bail to $2,000.

Justice Beth Hughes agreed with defence counsel Shamsher Kothari the original amount, set by another Court of Queen's Bench judge, was unrealistic.

Hughes noted the Charter says accused persons aren't to be denied reasonable bail.

"I find that a $1 million cash bail is not a reasonable bail in the circumstances here," Hughes said.

"I'm setting Mr. Brost's bail at $1,000 per count," she said.

Brost faces three separate prosecutions in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme in which investors were bilked out of what the Crown alleges is at least $100 million.

He was granted bail on charges of theft and fraud from the federal government by Justice Pat Sullivan, who said Brost could be freed on $1 million, a fraction of the amount allegedly swindled.

Brost had already been granted his release on two other sets of charges, one involving allegations of theft and fraud against investors and possessing the proceeds of crime and money laundering.

The other allegations involved eight charges under the Income Tax Act.

Hughes said one condition Sullivan imposed on his original order -- that Brost be required to be monitored through an ankle bracelet -- would stand.

"Until such time as the electronic bracelet issue is sorted out and the bracelet is in place, Mr. Brost cannot be released," she said.

Kothari said he would have a release order drafted for Hughes to sign and expected there would be no problem in getting the device in place to have Brost freed.

Outside court, Kothari said his position was Sullivan's decision effectively said Brost was a suitable candidate for release, but was refused it anyway.

"One of the arguments made ... was setting bail at $1 million was tantamount to detention," he said.
Kothari said after 17 months in custody his client will be relieved to be out of jail.

"It will obviously make it a bit easier for him," the lawyer said.

Brost was originally charged in September, 2009 and released, but was arrested on an unrelated matter and had his bail revoked.

He's currently facing a lengthy preliminary inquiry in connection with one of the sets of charges.

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