'Complex' mortgage fraud scheme uncovered, Alberta police say

Four people are facing 29 criminal charges in what police call a complex multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

ALERT says organized crime group helped 'Calgary's underworld' use fake companies to commit fraud

A Ferrari worth about $200,000 was seized by police in connection with an investigation into what investigators are calling a massive mortgage fraud scheme. (Kim Johnston/CBC)

Four people are facing 29 criminal charges in what police are calling a complex multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

An organized crime group “aided and abetted a vast cross-section of Calgary’s underworld” with fraudulent mortgages, said Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT), in a written release.

The ALERT team, consisting of Calgary police and RCMP officers, began investigating the alleged scheme last October.

Investigators believe more than 20 houses in Calgary, Fort McMurray, and British Columbia were purchased fraudulently.

The properties ranged in price from $300,000 to well over $1 million.

“The alleged criminal group used fictitious companies to commit mortgage fraud by falsifying documents related to employment records, bank statements, credit information, and tax assessments,” ALERT said.

Four fraudulent companies were set up in order to obtain mortgages, ALERT said.

The charges against the four suspects include fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to obstruct justice and instructing a criminal organization.

“This group was receiving service fees from some of the other people that were involved, they were relying on increased values of the property and also drawing second mortgages, third mortgages, et cetera, on each property,” said Staff Sgt. Martin Schiavetta. 

More charges and arrests are expected in connection with the investigation, ALERT said. 

“The alleged mortgage frauds perpetrated by this group will ultimately cost taxpayers and financial institutions millions of dollars,” said Insp. Gerry Francois.