One of Canada’s most notorious con men is back behind bars for what police allege is a fraud scheme involving stolen travel trailers and recreational equipment.
Sixty-seven-year-old Alyn Richard Waage has been charged with numerous counts of possession of stolen property, fraud, uttering forged documents and trafficking in stolen property.
Police say they have recovered travel trailers and recreational equipment worth more than $863,000. The property was recovered from a residence on Lindsay Crescent in south Edmonton.
Waage made international headlines in 2001 for masterminding what is believed to be one of the biggest Internet-based frauds in history.
Mexican authorities had arrested Waage in Puerto Vallarta, where he had operated a pyramid scheme that in two years pulled in an estimated $90 million from 28,000 investors in 59 countries.
Waage operated the scheme from a multi-million dollar cliffside mansion in the exclusive Puerto Vallarta neighbourhood of Conchas Chinas. One of his employees was Brenda Martin.
Martin’s plight became national news after she was arrested, imprisoned and eventually convicted in participating in Waage’s criminal enterprise.
Martin always maintained her innocence and Waage told CBC News that Martin was only his cook and had nothing to do with his scheme.
After his arrest in Mexico, he was inexplicably released and immediately fled to Costa Rica. But the FBI grabbed him off the street and flew him to California, where he was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Extradited to Edmonton
In 2010, American authorities extradited Waage back to Edmonton from a North Carolina prison. Waage, a former real estate agent, faced 30 charges related to a mortgage fraud in Edmonton. He was sentenced on May 3, 2011 to three and a half years, but was credited with 16 months served.
Police allege that this latest scheme involved stolen recreational vehicles fraudulently registered in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The thefts are believed to have occurred from residential driveways to parking and storage lots, mostly outside of Edmonton.
In most cases, police allege, trailers and equipment were given false vehicle identification numbers and were registered using counterfeit bills of sale being sold through online classifieds. People who bought the trailers and equipment have lost, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars.
Waage and his co-accused are expected to appear in court in July.