Man behind fraudulent $6.7M gold mining scheme dies in Kingston hospital

A Toronto man who had been serving a four-year prison sentence for defrauding more than 100 Canadian investors of nearly $7 million in a gold mine scheme has died in a Kingston, Ont., hospital.

Robert Heward, 58, had been serving his sentence at the medium-security Joyceville Institution north of Kingston when he died Thursday, Correctional Service Canada said in a media release.

Heward and another man, William Wallace, were convicted in December 2016 of fraud, illegal distribution and unregistered trading under the Ontario Securities Act in connection with selling fraudulent shares in Londoni Gold Corp., which the pair promoted as a gold mine in Tanzania.

Behind bars since February

The pair misled investors about the "operations, management team, viability and production potential of the mine," the Ontario Securities Commission said at the time of their conviction.

Approximately 105 investors were defrauded of roughly $6.7 million, most of which Heward and his partner spent on their "own personal lifestyles," the commission said.

Heward began serving his sentence in February 2017, and had also been ordered along with his partner to repay the money.

Both police and the coroner have been notified, and Correctional Service Canada will review the circumstances of his death, the agency said.

The cause of Heward's death was not released.