Disgraced Olympic rower facing music

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Ex-Canadian Olympian seen on ferry after he disappeared

“I’ve known Harold a long time, and I remember hearing that he was a financial advisor, and it struck a chord,” Kip McDaniel, a financial writer, told Postmedia.
When the news emerged about the rogue rower, it shattered the rarified circles of the rowing world. After all, Backer was one of them.
A financial advisor, Backer, 54, admitted losing his friends’ fortune — including many in the rowing community — in the 1999 dotcom crash.

But last week he surrendered to cops.

The bizarre saga of three-time Olympic rower Harold Backer will take another twist in a Victoria, B.C., courtroom Tuesday.

Where Backer vanished to over the last 18 months remains a mystery that cops hope to clear up.

Backer is sitting in a jail cell now and facing two charges of fraud over $5,000.

“My investors have been my friends, and I have done a terrible thing to my friends.” “Moving forward to today, I am aware that I am running a pyramid investment,” he wrote in a letter to clients, first published by the Victoria Times Colonist.
On Nov. 3, 2015, he told his wife he was going for a bike ride and walked away from his crashing world. There was just one more sighting days later in Port Angeles, Wash. — then nothing.

Olympian, financier, friend.

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Harold Backer is shown in a Vancouver Police Department handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Police Department) Police in Washington are almost certain that a missing British Columbia man boarded a ferry entering the state from Victoria.Deputy Chief Brian Smith of the Port Angeles Police Department says video surveillance shows a man matching Backer’s description on the Coho ferry last Tuesday.


Backer had spent more than a decade trying to make up for the 1999 stock market implosion.


“He saw these people every day for 15 years while running this thing. That is the thing that I think bothers every single person who touches this story the most.” “He basically managed the money for the people closest to him,” McDaniel said.

He wouldn’t be the first financial advisor to disappear.” “Something just didn’t sit quite right.

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And then it became too much. Backer — an Olympic team member in 1984, 1988 and 1992 — admitted living a double life.