CBC NEWS John Simmonds in $30 million fraud charges by Linda Ward Dec 2016
'I lost my life,' complainant in $30M fraud investigation says
9 people accused of funnelling money to support
a 'lavish lifestyle,' say police
CBC News Posted: Dec 21, 2016 2:52 PM ET
Two years ago, Peter Spyros Goudas sold his beloved business to a company that's now part of a $30 million fraud investigation. (Peter Goudas)
York Regional Police say even more potential victims are coming forward in a $30 million fraud investigation.
Nine people, including prominent Ontario businessman and ClubLink co-founder John Simmonds, are facing 42 fraud-related charges.
74-year-old Peter Goudas, who sold his business to Simmonds, is one of their alleged victims.
He told CBC Toronto he was forced to watch as his recently-sold company was driven into the ground in just five months in what police are describing as a "planned bankruptcy."
From food empire to bankruptcy
In 1967, Peter Spyros Goudas came to Canada from Greece and eventually grew his company, Goudas Food Products and Investments Ltd, into a leading Canadian supplier of international food products with more than 600 brands.
Business owner Peter Goudas on the cover of Metropolitan Toronto Business Journal in November 1992, more than two decades before an alleged fraud operation bankrupted Goudas Food. (Peter Goudas)
Two years ago, he sold his beloved business for $10 million to BLVD Holdings Inc. — a company police now say is one of 80 shell companies registered by AC Simmonds Group, the Simmonds-operated company at the heart of their fraud investigation.
Goudas said Simmonds seemed to have the money to grow his business.
But police said once Simmonds took control, he allegedly replaced the system for maintaining the financial records to misrepresent the financial status of the company.
Simmonds and his co-accused then allegedly submitted fraudulent documentation from one of his many shell companies and business interests to increase the value of the company in order to secure additional money from lenders, creditors and investors.
York police Det. Ken Bardai said the money — about $30 million in all — was then funneled out to the various shell companies.
Five months after it had been sold, Goudas Food Products and Investments Ltd was bankrupt.
'Just the tip of the iceberg'
Bardai said it appears that Simmonds and his organization were using the money to support "a lavish lifestyle."
Now, several more complainants have come forward. "I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg," Bardai said.
As for Goudas, he's left with nothing.
The $10 million he received in the deal with Simmonds is gone, re-invested into his now-bankrupt former company. The people who were once his employees are now jobless, without severance pay.
"I lost my life," he said. "Forget about the 10 million dollars."
9 facing fraud-related charges
Nine people in total are facing various charges, including fraud over $5000, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, and laundering proceeds of crime:
- John Simmonds, 66, of King City
- Carrie Weiler, 57, of Nobleton
- Ian Bradley, 71, of Toronto
- Donald Fenton, 67, of Toronto
- Jason Williams, 44, of Severn
- Michael Grieco, 63 of Vaughan
- Deborah Simmonds, 56, of Aurora
- Tyrone Ganpaul, 67, of Mississauga
- John Mpardakis, 45, of Toronto
Police are asking anyone with information, or anyone who has had business agreements with BLVD Holdings or AC Simmonds Group, to contact Det. Ken Bardai at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6671 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
With files from Linda Ward