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Fraudster fined $150,000 donates to campaign of two pro-development candidates in North Cowichan

A fraudster who received a $150,000 fine and 25-year ban from the BC Securities Commission made substantial donations to the election campaigns of two pro-development candidates in the 2022 municipal election in North Cowichan.

Michael Ruge financially supported the campaigns of John Koury and Tek Manhas despite the fact he still hasn’t paid his $150,000 fine — almost 18 years after it was issued.

A review of Elections BC data shows that Michael and Elly Ruge together donated $1,250 to Koury.

Michael Ruge also donated $750 to Manhas.

Elly Ruge donated $1,250 — the maximum allowable under B.C. election rules in 2022 -— to Manhas.

Koury lost the mayoralty race to Rob Douglas, while Manhas was re-elected as councillor.

Both Koury and Manhas supported greater development during last fall’s election campaign.

(More reading: )

They also supported logging the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve, which falls within the coastal Douglas-fir forest — the province’s rarest forest type, according to the B.C. Forests Ministry.

Neither Ruge, Koury nor Manhas has so far responded to a request for comment from .

On his websites, Duncan-based Ruge variously describes himself as a business consultant, eco-advisor and author.

“I am a deal maker who gets things done. As an ‘entrepreneur’ I have created several, successful enterprises. As an ‘intrapreneur’ I have advised and lent my consulting expertise to all sizes of corporations and entities, resulting in multiplying the third bottom line (people, planet, profits).

“I live my life by my standards and my way, attacking challenges as they come up. Good-natured, happy, peaceful man, always willing to help. High energy. The guiding light for my family and loved ones, friends and clients, an incredible supporter, doing the right thing. I am an adventurer, a world traveler, a seeker of new limits”

In a 2005 decision, the B.C. Securities Commission offered a very different perspective of the man.

The commission said in a news release it had banned Michael Ernst Ruge “from the securities market for 25 years and required him to pay $150,000 after he admitted to committing fraud and illegally distributing securities to investors.”

Michael Ruge was the sole shareholder, director and officer of Chivas Hedge Fund Ltd.

Under the settlement, the commission also ordered that the company cease trading in securities for 25 years.

According to the news release, the misrepresentations made in the offering memorandum included:
— Stating Chivas LP was a hedge fund when only a small portion of the investors’ money was placed in actively traded stocks.
— Overstating Ruge’s business experience and qualifications.
— Falsely stating Chivas LP was a limited partnership in B.C.

Ruge also admitted he personally made misrepresentations to investors, according to the commission.

“He stated that Chivas LP was a hedge fund; claimed that he had ‘cream of the crop people’ in a New York office when, in fact, there were no New York employees; stated Chivas had sold all of its units, reaching its $20-million cap, when it had only sold about $1.5-million units; and, falsely claimed Chivas LP had a rate of return between 26- to 45-per cent.”

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The commission has confirmed to that to date Ruge has failed to pay his $150,000 fine.

The B.C. government on Feb. 8, 2023, announced new measures to crack down on white-collar crime. These measures followed Securities Act amendments in 2020
designed to strengthen the B.C. Security Commission’s ability to collect penalties from fraudsters.

Ruge ran for office in North Cowichan in 2011, placing last among 17 candidates for council with 381 votes.

He published numerous YouTube videos during the campaign, including one promoting greater efficiency at municipal hall to speed the approval process for builders and developers — the same theme promoted by Koury and Manhas during the 2022 campaign.


(John Martin photo of Michael and Elly Ruge)

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