Two Calgary real estate developers have been charged with fraud and theft after 864 investors in Alberta lost in excess of $33 million in a proposed resort development project in Crowsnest Pass.
The alleged offences are related to the use of investors' money by Bridgecreek Development Corporation between 2006 and 2007. The investigation by the Alberta RCMP began in 2012.
William Lloyd Bradley, 68, and Colin Joseph Becker, 49, both of Calgary, have been charged with committing fraud and theft. Both men were officers and directors of Bridgecreek Development Corporation during the time of the offences.
Calgary RCMP Sgt. Sylvain Roussel, the lead investigator in the case, says this case is significant.
"I think it is one of the largest investment fraud investigations that I have been involved in," Roussel said.
He says the case was made more challenging by the fact that Bridgecreek had about 25 to 30 corporate entities underneath it.
"They raised a significant amount of money. They were proposing to raise $100 million to develop the first portion of the lake project initiative, however it appeared that they fell short of this object. They raised only $33 million and change," he explained.
"Shortly after raising that money, some of the funds were allegedly diverted to other corporations under the Bridgecreek corporation to sustain other entities that were related to these accused."
'Some have lost their houses'
The charges are longtime coming for one of the alleged victims. Anne Moman of Airdrie, Alta., is one of the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit.
She invested $20,000 in the project about a decade ago, but says there are hundreds of people who lost much more money.
Moman says she is left with mixed feelings about the charges. She's "thrilled" charges have been laid, but her thoughts are with many of the investors.
"I'm sad for the investors.They're almost all Albertans and the vast population of them are seniors," said Moman, who suggested some individuals lost up to $1 million.
She pegs the losses at closer to $100 million.
"Some have lost their houses, their retirement savings on this. To them this is such a severe impact that they were financially devastated."
Because of the large number of people affected in the broad and complex case, the Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG) and Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) were brought in to help with the investigation, as well as the FBI in the U.S.
Bradley and Becker will make their first court appearance in Calgary on Aug. 11.