Canadian investor and former Olympian Harold Backer ’85 turned himself in to the police last Thursday after disappearing in November of 2015.
Backer, who lived in Victoria, British Columbia, is a former investment dealer and Olympic rower, having represented Canada in the 1984, 1988, and 1992 Olympic Games. According to the Victoria Police Department, on Nov. 3, 2015, Backer told his wife that he was going for a bike ride but never returned home.
At the time of his disappearance, Backer was under investigation involving a probe by mutual funds company Investia Financial Services, Inc, for whom Backer was a representative and with whom he had 20 clients. According to the Huffington Post, Investia terminated Backer's license after his disappearance because he had failed to follow policies requiring him to disclose all outside business activities.
In addition, financial crimes investigators from the Victoria Police Department started looking into Backer's company, Financial Backer Corporation, after some of Backer's investors received “concerning letters.” According to The Times Colonist, Backer sent his investors a letter expressing “deep remorse for decisions that cost them money” and noting that he was aware that he was “running a pyramid investment.” In the letter, Backer apologized and said he was “truly sorry for the effects of [his] poor decisions.”
On April 13, roughly one and a half years after Backer’s disappearance, he turned himself in to the Victoria Police Department. He had a tele-bail hearing and was charged with two counts of fraud of over $5,000 each.
Backer graduated with a degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University. His senior thesis was titled “The Efficient Markets Hypothesis — Fact or Fancy?”