Former Olympic rower Harold Backer pleads guilty to fraud

Backer changed his plea in Victoria on Wednesday; the Crown is seeking a 13-month jail sentence

A former Olympic rower who mysteriously disappeared for nearly 18 months has pleaded guilty to fraud.

Harold Backer changed his plea Wednesday in Victoria provincial court on a single charge of fraud over $5,000.

The three-time Olympian was previously facing two charges of fraud over $5,000 and had pleaded not guilty on both counts.

Backer disappeared on Nov. 3, 2015, when he failed to return home after telling his family he was going out for a bike ride.

RELATED: Missing Olympian turns himself in to Victoria Police

The investment dealer surrendered to police in April 2017 and his whereabouts during that period of time hasn’t been explained.

Soon after he disappeared, financial crime investigators began looking into Backer and the company My Financial Backer Corp. after his investors received letters that concerned them.

The 55-year-old was on the Canadian rowing team in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games.

After his disappearance, police in Port Angeles, Wash., said an officer who viewed video from a street security camera noted a man fitting Backer’s description was aboard a ferry from Victoria, a 90-minute trip away.

RELATED: Lawsuit seeks restitution from former Olympic Rower

The guilty plea was entered by defence lawyer Joven Narwal on behalf of Backer, a thin, bearded man who was dressed in a grey pinstripe suit.

Crown attorney John Neal told Judge Carmen Rogers he is seeking a 13-month jail sentence and three years of probation for Backer. He also wants a no-contact order for five people who lost money as a result of Backer’s fraud.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Tourism at a high during shoulder season in Greater Victoria

A new video highlights the efforts into making Greater Victoria an all year round destination

Hockey royalty Hayley Wickenheiser skates into Sidney this spring

Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada’s greatest women’s hockey player, to speak March 26

SD62 asks Colwood to help fund crosswalk guard at Wishart Elementary

‘We’re just overly congested,’ says PAC president

Saanich Police respond to petition for new police agency on Lindsay Buziak murder case

Petition asks Public Safety Minister to to help find justice for slain realtor

North Saanich man fears tougher moorage policies could cost him his home

Stewart Jackson has been living on a boat off Lillian Hoffar Park for about four years

POLL: Do you support the proposed changes for ICBC?

Tuesday’s provincial budget predicted a shift from shortfall to surplus in wake… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

Most Read