Looking thin and clean-shaven, former Olympic rower Harold Backer appears in court

Looking thin and clean-shaven, former Olympic rower Harold Backer appears in court

WATCH: He vanished a year and a half ago but on Tuesday Harold Backer appeared in court on two fraud charges. April Lawrence was there.

Two of Harold Backer’s children were silent as they entered the Victoria Law Courts Tuesday afternoon, there to see their dad as he appeared in the prisoner’s box for a scheduled bail hearing.

Before Tuesday afternoon’s court appearance it’s believed the last time anyone saw Harold Backer was on a surveillance video, as he rode his bike away from the Coho ferry terminal in Port Angeles in November 2015.

The 54-year-old had told his family he was heading out for a bike ride that day, but never returned.

Then last week, in a surprising development, the financial advisor and former Olympian walked into the Victoria Police detachment, and turned himself in.

But how he got there, and where he’s been for a year and a half remain a mystery.

Backer, a mutual funds dealer, sent letters to his clients in 2015 apologizing for losing their money ? several were friends and colleagues from Brentwood College.

Yvonne Carr told CHEK News that she and her husband lost more than $800,000.

“I can go three or four months and not be angry and one day I wake up and I’m really angry because I can’t do the things I wanted to do for my family,” said Carr in November.

On a Facebook page, called Finding Harold Backer, the majority of comments reacting to Backer’s re-appearance were supportive, with many grateful to hear he’s still alive.

We spoke to one of his alleged victims today though who says the entire situation is painful because Backer wasn’t just a financial advisor, he was a good friend.

The senior says all he can do is watch the court proceedings unfold, but is doubtful he’ll ever get his money back.

Backer is charged with two counts of fraud over $5000.

If he is found guilty and Crown prosecutors can prove the amount is greater than one million dollars, he would face a minimum of two years a maximum of 14 years in prison.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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