Two Vancouver men have been arrested and charged following complaints of fraudulent real estate transactions totalling more than $30 million, police said.
Vancouver police and the RCMP commercial crime section carried out a lengthy investigation and arrested the pair Tuesday, RCMP said.
The 107 cases involved real estate and mortgage transactions between 2000 and 2002, RCMP Sgt. Susan Green said in a news release.
Tarsem Singh Gill, a former real estate developer, and Martin Keith Wirick, a former lawyer, have been charged with two counts of fraud and theft. Other charges include uttering forged documents and possession of stolen property.
The two have been released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 15.
The Law Society of B.C. said Wednesday it has paid out millions of dollars in claims on account of Wirick's misconduct. The law society maintains a compensation fund to reimburse anyone who has money misappropriated by a lawyer acting in his or her capacity as a barrister and solicitor. Wirick was disbarred in 2002.
President John Hunter told CBC News many people nearly lost their homes in the alleged fraud.
"We have provided $38.4 million in compensation to victims. We disbarred Mr. Wirick and we adopted new rules and guidelines to help prevent this from ever happening again," Hunter said.
Hunter said money from home purchasers was not used to pay off existing mortgages, but was used for other purposes, leaving the unwitting homebuyers with two or even three mortgages on their properties.
Hunter said the law society was relieved to see charges being laid after a six-year police investigation.
"We were certainly satisfied that this has been done," he said. "We knew that the investigation was ongoing. Our members were asking what was going on because they had paid out millions and millions of dollars for what appeared to be a fraud."