RCMP allege real estate broker defrauded homebuyer

Imagine buying a house and then finding out the title is not registered in your name.

David Douglas challenges search warrants

Imagine buying a house and then finding out the title is not registered in your name.

That’s what RCMP allege happened to one of Winnipeg real estate broker David Douglas’ clients.

Court documents filed by the RCMP allege Douglas defrauded a client who contacted him in 2012 about buying a house.

The allegations are contained in the information RCMP filed in court to obtain the search warrants executed last month at Douglas' home on Old River Road and at another residence.

In it the RCMP allege they have reason to believe Douglas committed six counts of fraud and theft in 2012 and 2013.

RCMP told CBC News they are still investigating but Douglas has not been charged.

In the sworn statement filed in court, RCMP allege that in 2012 the client agreed to sell a house on Toronto Street to Douglas, with the proceeds of that sale to go towards buying a different house on Collegiate Street.  

Police say the client made monthly mortgage payments to a Douglas company for the new house on Collegiate in the amount of $1,205.

But RCMP allege the house the client believed he was buying was actually registered in the name of someone else – Rita Labossiere, an employee of Douglas.

RCMP allege David Douglas defrauded the client by having him make mortgage payments for a house he did not legally own. 

"Straw buyer' used to buy house?

Police also allege Douglas used his employee as a "straw buyer" to purchase the Collegiate Street house and fraudulently obtain a mortgage from a bank in the amount of $234,167.

The police affidavit also says Labossiere told police “that it was Douglas orchestrating the sale of the property and fraudulently obtained mortgage financing using her name.”

Police allege a letter from a law firm handling the transaction stated the employee and the client were married, which was not true.  

Police say they confirmed with the client he did not have a relationship with the employee and did not even know her at the time. 

RCMP allege it was the correspondence from the law office that changed the buyer of the Collegiate Street house to Rita Labossiere, rather than the client, saying “it is unknown at the time of this affidavit how and why this had occurred.”

The police documents make allegations against Douglas concerning other properties as well.  None of the allegations has been proven.

Douglas' lawyer declined comment.

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Search violated rights: Douglas

Douglas has filed an application in Court of Queen’s Bench saying his rights were violated when police searched his home March 4 seizing files and computers.

The application argues the search warrants were aimed at seizing legal correspondence between Douglas and his lawyers, violating solicitor--client privilege.

CBC News reported last month that Douglas faces a hearing before the Manitoba Securities Commission April 23 to determine whether his real estate broker license should be cancelled.

Douglas’ court application under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms seeks to have the items seized by the RCMP returned to him.  

In an affidavit sworn April 7th, Douglas says he cannot properly defend himself at the Securities Commission hearing because police have his documents and digital files.