Former Olympic rower pleads guilty to fraud in B.C.

Harold Backer made 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 Olympian

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.

Just Posted

Pulled cattle guards going back in place despite B.C. Interior First Nations moose hunt protest

Forests minister Donaldson and TNG Chief Alphonse discuss situation, agree on path forward, ministry says

Get your jam on with the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre in 100 Mile House

The Friendship Centre has jam sessions on Saturdays

Missoula Children’s Theatre brings Pied Piper to 100 Mile House

‘They just get them to do these fun things and they’re always so amazing.’

Ralph Fossum: candidate for council of 100 Mile House

The Free Press interviews 100 Mile House council candidates

Bikers and car enthusiasts turn up for 100 Mile House toy run

“The bikers here in the community really support us”

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

‘Summer from hell’: vandals rob Fort St. James community garden following devastating wildfire season

The community rallied to keep the Health Minds Community Garden open in Fort St. James

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read