Employer who stole nearly $3M in wages from 157 workers fined $500

By ThinkPol Staff

A Vancouver-based employer who stole nearly $3 million in wages from 157 employees have been fined $500 by British Columbia’s employment watchdog.

The employees belong to the 34 companies of the Istuary Innovation Group owned by Yi An Sun, also known as Ethan Sun, according to a lawsuit filed against the companies and its director by Director of Employment Standards.

Sun is allegedly on the run in China with his wife Yulan “Amy” Hu, according to another lawsuit filed by a group of investors.

The companies, all high-tech startups on paper, are accused of being fronts for a real estate Ponzi scheme in a separate lawsuit filed by another group of investors and employees.

The Director of Employment Standards has determined that the companies have contravened the Employment Standards Act and the 157 employees are all entitled to more than $2.9 million in wages and interest.

Istuary Group has been assessed a $500 dollar administrative penalty and has been asked to stop contravening the Act.

A Writ of Seizure and Sale has also been issued against the companies as a result of a lawsuit filed at the New Westminster courts.

All equipment and furniture from Istuary’s Vancouver office will be auctioned off on December 14[1]https://www.ableauctions.ca/auction?aAuctionId=7d74b728-15ea-488d-9bcf-c84192ecad94.

“Under the Act, directors and officers of Companies can also be required to pay wages owed to employees,” the Director’s order to Istuary Group reads. “Directors and officers who authorize, permit or acquiesce in a contravention of the Act are also liable for the total administrative penalty amount.”

The Istuary Group of companies have not paid their workers’ salaries since May, according to the complaints made against the group by the employees.

Some of those employees are temporary foreign workers who continued working for Istuary without pay out of fear of losing their immigration status, ThinkPol has learned.

An Official from BC’s Jobs, Trade & Technology Ministry confirmed that the Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) has received applications that were supported by a job offer from Istuary, but refused to provide any more information citing privacy reasons.

The latest lawsuit marks a new low for CEO Ethan Sun, who used to regularly rub shoulders with prominent Canadian politicians including current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his predecessor Stephen Harper, former BC Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Istuary Group and its CEO have denied all investment allegations in statements of defence filed as part of the investors’ lawsuits, and are seeking special costs from the plaintiffs on the grounds that allegations of fraud against them are “intended to liable[sic] and embarrass” them and “to injure their reputation and their ability to carry on business and have had those effects.”

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References   [ + ]

1. https://www.ableauctions.ca/auction?aAuctionId=7d74b728-15ea-488d-9bcf-c84192ecad94