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Case of elusive accountant continues to baffle everyone

Third anniversary of Hofman's disappearance

Tags: Hofman Case Investigation

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is not the only party who wishes to have a serious talk with Dutch-born Fred S. Hofman. It, as well as many of his family members and former friends, associates and acquaintances would love to hear from the disappeared Dutch-Canadian accountant and financial advisor where their money was spent or is stashed away.

Last Spring, the RCMP charged Hofman with 61 counts of fraud and theft, for a total of $9.7 million (the amount missing is far greater) after two years of painstaking, investigative work. Since then, the RCMP has issued Canada-wide warrants for Hofman's arrest, and it emphatically states that Canada is committed to extraditing the fugitive from wherever he is found. Not surprisingly, Hofman's name is on Interpol's most wanted list. Image carefully groomed Hofman, who carefully built an image of prosperity and success, impressed many with his casual remarks about meeting well-known people and often took people's money after they persisted that he should take care of their investments. Small investors were usually held at bay - $100,000 was a minimum - but if they insisted on him servicing their account, Hofman promised to help them as 'a favour.' Some former clients felt they owed their business success to Hofman's advice. Unknown to many, BC's Securities Commission tried to prosecute Hofman for a number of infractions but received very little cooperation from those notified of it. Hofman eventually was slapped with a fine of $50,000, and was issued a cease and desist order from trading in securities (there is evidence to suggest that he circumvented the order).

Investigative work by interested parties was often frustrated by the lack of an audit trail or cooperation, or both. Many agreements were verbal, while those who did have receipts discovered that essential information was incomplete, rendering the document of little use to anyone. News coverage of the Hofman case, including a segment by CTV's investigative program W5, failed to produce any hard leads regarding the fugitive's whereabouts. Speculation about Hofman's hiding place literally has left few places on the globe untouched (with perhaps the notable exception of Eastern Europe), while some insist that Hofman fled for his own safety, reasoning that he is also wanted by people who would never openly lay a complaint with the police.