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

PHOTOS: Tour de White Rock kicks off

Races take place this evening and tomorrow morning

It’s about to get hot: Special weather statement issued for Lower Mainland

Temperatures expected to rise and stick around till next week, Environment Canada forecasts

Delta’s OWL Society to pair raptors and yoga

The two-class fundraiser allows participants to do yoga while being watched by birds of prey

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

SilverStar officially opens Gondola

The brand-new gondola is now offering scenic rides for visitors on SilverStar Mountain Resort.

VIDEO: Man climbs crane in Abbotsford

Police, fire called to deal with climber last night

VIDEO: Langley City legendary water fight was a soaking good time

And perfectly timed for a hot weather warning

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Most Read