Market News

Montreal adviser gets 11 years for Ponzi scheme

* Earl Jones pleaded guilty to two fraud charges

* Prosecutors say he bilked investors out of C$50 million

TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - A Montreal financial adviser convicted of running a Ponzi scheme like the one that landed Bernard Madoff in jail for life was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Monday, a Quebec court said.

Bertram Earl Jones, who found most of his clients by word of mouth, was accused of swindling investors out of as much as C$50 million ($46.7 million), according to Quebec’s Autorite Des Marches Financiers, one of Canada’s top securities regulators.

Earl Jones, 67, pleaded guilty last month to two fraud charges related to a Ponzi scheme in which he would use funds from one client to pay guaranteed returns to another, without ever investing the funds, prosecutors said.

The scheme, which extended over 20 years, came to light in July after investors, mostly elderly retirees, complained to authorities that checks issued by Earl Jones were bouncing and he was not returning their phone calls.

A month earlier, Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in jail for a Wall Street investment fraud that is believed to have bilked investors out of about $65 billion.

$=$1.05 Canadian Reporting by Frank McGurty and Pav Jordan, Editing by Sandra Maler