Former CFL player David Sidoo faces new United States fraud allegations for ‘pump-and-dump’ scheme

Courtesy: AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

Former CFL player David Sidoo was one of eight co-defendants named in a complaint filed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in the Southern District of New York, alleging that the group conspired to defraud investors out of more than $145 million USD.

The complaint alleges that the Vancouver-based businessman participated in at least two “pump-and-dump” schemes in which he and his co-defendants used off-shore shell corporations to buy controlling interest in publicly traded companies, promoted the stock of those companies using misleading claims, then sold their shares for profit to “unsuspecting retail investors.”

Sidoo is accused of executing this fraud in regards to the North American Oil & Gas Corp. from July of 2013 to August of 2014 and again with American Helium Inc. from March of 2018 to February of 2020. The combined illicit proceeds from those two deals are estimated in the court filling to be $16.68 million USD.

Sidoo has not yet been criminally charged, but four of his co-defendants have been formally indicted. They face charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, multiple counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Many of those counts carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

It remains unclear whether Sidoo could be indicted at a later date or whether he is cooperating with investigators.

Sidoo first made international headlines in 2019 as part of the well-publicized US college admission scandal, which implicated several high profile Hollywood celebrities. Sidoo pled guilty to paying $200,000 for a Harvard graduate to take the SATs for his two sons, who would later attend USC and UC-Berkley.

He was forced to pay a $250,000 fine and spent three months in US prison. Sidoo was released in December of 2020 and has since kept a low profile.

A Vanier Cup champion defensive back while playing at the University of British Columbia, Sidoo is credited as the CFL’s first Indo-Canadian player. He suited up for six seasons between 1983 and 1988, including five with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Sidoo’s best season came in 1987, when he recorded seven of his eight career interceptions.

In recent years, he had been heavily involved in the resurgence of the UBC football program, with his financial backing helping to propel them to a surprise Vanier Cup victory in 2015. The Thunderbirds’ football field on UBC campus was named after him, but has since been changed.

The 61-year-old had been honoured as part of the Order of B.C. and a member of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, but has been stripped of both accolades in light of his legal controversies.