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Lawsuit seeks restitution from former Olympian who went missing for 18 months

(iStock Photo)

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – An investment dealer and former Olympic rower who disappeared for nearly 18 months faces a civil lawsuit from investors alleging he ran a pyramid scheme with their money.

A notice of civil claim filed by six people in Duncan last July names Harold Backer, his company and his former employer, Investia Services Financiers.

The BC Supreme Court lawsuit claims damages for breach of contract, negligence and fraud arising from an allegedly fraudulent, pyramid or ‘Ponzi’ scheme operated by Backer and his personal company.

Police have said that the 54-year-old Backer told his family in November 2015 that he was going for a bike ride but never came back.

Backer appeared at the Victoria Police Department last Thursday, and has since been charged with two counts of fraud over five-thousand dollars.

The three-time Olympian was in court yesterday and was remanded until May 2nd.

None of the allegations in the civil or criminal cases have been proven in court.

Investia denied any negligence in a statement of defence filed in court.

Backer’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.