Former Olympic rower, Howard Backer pleads guilty to fraud

A former Olympic rower who mysteriously disappeared for over a year has been sentenced to 13 months in jail after pleading guilty to fraud.

Harold Backer pleaded guilty in Victoria provincial court this morning to a single charge of fraud over $5,000.

The 55 year old, three-time Olympian had been facing two charges of fraud over $5,000 and had pleaded not guilty on both counts.

The sentence includes credit for one month of time served in jail.

Backer disappeared on Nov. 3, 2015, when he failed to return home after telling his family he was going out for a bike ride. He surrendered to police in April 2017 and his whereabouts while he was missing haven't been explained.

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.

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.

Backer was on the Canadian rowing team in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games.

(With files from CTV Vancouver Island)

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