Former Ottawa financial adviser charged with fraud

A former Ottawa financial adviser has been arrested and charged after 14 Ottawa-area clients were defrauded of nearly $2.7 million over a number of years.

14 Ottawa-area clients defrauded of nearly $2.7M from 2008 to 2012, police say

A former Ottawa financial adviser is facing charges after 14 Ottawa-area clients were defrauded of nearly $2.7 million over a number of years — and police believe there could be more victims.

The Ottawa police organized fraud unit started getting complaints late last year and has been working on the case for about six months.

About three or four victims came forward at first and at present, police have identified 14 victims from 2008 to 2012.

The fraud involved "shell companies" operating under the names of Magna Securities and Stone Securities, according to Det. Steven Malo.

"[The suspect] had created these business bank accounts by giving the illusion that they were legitimate companies, but in reality they were just shell companies and, in effect, his own personal bank accounts," Malo said Friday.

Arrest made Wednesday

The clients became suspicious partly because they weren't seeing paperwork about their investments, Malo said.

On Wednesday, Ottawa police executed a search warrant at a condo in Mississauga. Peel Regional Police helped to arrest the suspect, who owns the condo, and take him back to Ottawa to face charges.

"We were able to determine that this condominium was purchased with the proceeds of crime, from the investment fraud," Malo said, adding that a restraint has been placed on the home.

If the accused is found guilty in court, Malo says police hope to use whatever equity the condo has to pay victims.

James Scribnock, 54 — who also goes by the name Jacques — is facing four charges including fraud over $5,000, possessing the proceeds of crime, laundering the proceeds of crime and uttering a forged document.

A bail hearing is scheduled for May 17.

Police are asking any other potential victims to come forward.