A Toronto man is facing 21 counts of fraud in an alleged $2.5 million scam that spread to Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
RCMP announced Wednesday they have charged Frederick Williams, 76. Police allege there are 71 victims across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Fraud complaints surfaced in the Maritimes and Ontario in 2012, prompting the police investigation.
Investigators say Williams solicited investments from customers of his Ontario-based businesses Innercleanse 2000, Intensive Cleanse, Herbal Care Direct and Kyra Therapy.
Investors received royalty certificates, partnership certificates or territory agreements in exchange for their investments, police said.
"These certificates and agreements indicated investors would receive royalties based on the sales of herbal products sold in Canada and the United States and at a future date investors would have their initial investment returned," police said in a statement.
Police allege most investors never saw any royalties, nor did they get back their initial investment. Williams didn't have a licence to solicit investors, it's alleged.
"Investment scams can lead to the loss of people's life savings — the social damage can be severe," Insp. Steve Martin, the officer in charge of the Hamilton/Niagara Regional RCMP detachment, said in a statement.
Williams' case is scheduled for first appearance on Thursday at the Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton.