Financial planner Earl Jones has disappeared, Quebec's investment securities regulator has frozen the assets of his company, and now his clients are trying to figure out exactly what has happened.

On Sunday afternoon, dozens of clients of Earl Jones met with police officers and the Autorit� des March�s Financiers (AMF) at a hotel in Pointe Claire to discuss the situation, and find out what is going on with their money.

Many of his clients are elderly, some are widows, and many say they were encouraged to remortgage their homes to make larger investments. Most of the clients brought friends or family with them as they struggled to cope with the news they may have lost their life savings.

On Thursday the AMF was able to freeze Jones' accounts, but discovered they contained very little money. The AMF says Jones was apparently running a Ponzi scheme that bilked clients, including some of his relatives, out of up to $50 million.

Despite managing people's money for years, the AMF says Jones was never a certified or registered financial planner.

Montreal police launched their investigation after clients complained that the cheques they received last month bounced, and they were unable to contact Jones.

The phone message on his company's voice mail system is as follows:

"You have reached Earl Jones. If you are calling regarding your account with us, we are not in the position to remit your funds. You will hear from us after 30 days. In the meantime, phone calls and mail will not be answered. This message was registered on July 10th, 2009."

Jones's neighbour, Margarita Reti, said she last saw him having supper with his wife on a terrace on Tuesday.

"He was having white wine, she was having red wine, and then they had a cappuccino and they left," she said, adding that she hadn't seen them since.