It seems that we are in fact presentient or at least ahead of the curve on current events.  The ALERT team[1] laid charges against 4 people with respect to a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud being run by what media outlets are describing as a “Calgary-based organized crime group”.  While it is important to note that the individuals in question are presumed innocent until proven guilty, it is alleged that the group falsified employment documents, bank statements, credit information and tax assessments in order to obtain mortgages on more than 20 homes in Calgary and Fort McMurray as well as a variety of locations in British Columbia.  Police indicate that the perpetrators are believed to have used a variety of straw buyers to carry out their purchases.  Indeed, based upon the limited information available, it appears that some of the methods parallel those we wrote about in our last blog entry.  Police indicate that they are also in the process of seizing the alleged perpetrator’s assets and seeking to have the court declare them forfeit pursuant to proceeds of crime legislation.  More charges and arrests are expected as part of the investigation.[2]

It has been an ongoing concern of the Calgary foreclosure Bar that the lack of criminal charges being laid against the organizers of these sorts of schemes was making such schemes appear to be safe.  Hopefully additional investigations are underway and will act as a deterrent to straw buyer schemes.

Francis N.J. Taman and Ksena J. Court practice commercial and residential foreclosure and secured and unsecured debt collection at Bishop & McKenzie LLP in Calgary, Alberta.

[1] ALERT stands for Alberta Law Enforcement Team.  It is an integrated team set up by the Alberta Solicitor General’s office to tackle organized crime.  It brings together police, RCMP and Sheriffs from different police forces through-out the province.

[2] The press release is available at http://www.alert-ab.ca/newsreleases/78-news-releases/2014/372-calgary-crime-group-implicated-in-multi-million-dollar-mortgage-frauds.

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