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CAN (BC): Former Cannabis Canada Council chairman charged in $1B stock fraud scheme

A Vancouver physician turned stock promoter has until November 30 to respond to charges he was involved in an alleged $1 billion international stock fraud scheme.

In early August, Dr. Avtar Singh Dhillon was arrested in Long Beach, California, while residing in his $12 million, 9,300-square-foot, yacht-lined waterfront home. He has since turned in his passport and is monitored by authorities with a GPS ankle bracelet after posting a $1.5 million bond. 

Dhillon, 60, was once a family physician, after obtaining a medical degree from the University of B.C., but over the past 25 years, he has pivoted his career toward promoting mainly health science companies and claimed to have raised more than $1 billion from investors. He has also served as past chairman of the Cannabis Canada Council and is a former member of the securities practice advisory committee to the B.C. Securities Commission. Dhillon's most recent and prominent Canadian venture is a medical cannabis company that he founded with prominent Vancouver securities lawyers and family members, including his cousin, a convicted heroin trafficker.

The allegations are part of a much broader international pump and dump scheme alleged by American authorities to have been orchestrated by Frederick Sharp, a West Vancouver resident and former lawyer tied to the Panama Papers. Sharp is accused of criminal conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud. Sharp and Dhillon also face various civil charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  

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