Internet fraudster lands in Edmonton prison
Alyn Waage masterminded massive $90 million pyramid scheme
One of Canada’s most notorious con men has been returned to an Edmonton prison after a decade behind bars in Mexico and the United States, CBC has learned.
American authorities extradited 64-year-old Alyn Richard Waage back to Edmonton from North Carolina where he served time for masterminding what is believed to be one of the biggest Internet-based frauds in history.
Waage is now facing 44 charges related to a mortgage fraud he is alleged to have committed in Edmonton and Hinton back in 1993. He is facing another dozen charges for fleeing the country.
In an exclusive interview with CBC News, Waage said he has repeatedly tried to negotiate a resolution to the charges.
"In ‘97 we offered complete restitution and the Crown said, ‘No, not interested,’" Waage said. "In 2000 we offered to waive extradition out of Mexico, along as it was reasonable and complete restitution and the Crown said, ‘No, five years plus restitution and waive extradition.’"
Offered unacceptable deals: Waage
Now, he said, provincial prosecutors are offering him two equally unacceptable deals.
"Plead guilty and spend the rest of my life in a federal prison or plead guilty and spend the rest of my life here in the Edmonton Remand Centre," Waage said. "That’s the choices they gave me."
Waage made international headlines in 2001 after he was arrested by Mexican authorities and charged with operating a massive pyramid scheme that in two years pulled in an estimated $90 million from 28,000 investors in 59 countries.
The former Edmonton realtor operated the scheme from a multi-million dollar cliff-side mansion in Puerto Vallarta. One of his employees was chef Brenda Martin.
Martin’s plight made national headlines after she was arrested, imprisoned and eventually convicted of participating in Waage’s criminal enterprise.
Former employee innocent, Waage say
"That’s absolute foolishness," Waage said. "Brenda was a cook. And not even a good cook."
"I had to fire her because she was a drunk and did not do the job properly."
Waage said he believes Mexican authorities convicted Martin because they needed a conviction in order to seize all 15 of his properties in Mexico, including the multi-million dollar mansion in Puerto Vallarta.
"Without that conviction, those properties are going to go to the U.S. government rather than the Mexican government," he said.
Waage is back in court next month, where he is expected to plead not guilty to the mortgage fraud charges.