Manitoba

Winnipeg property manager misappropriated $426K: security commission

The Manitoba Securities Commission alleges residential property developer Jeff Rabb and his business misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars for things including building a hockey rink in his backyard, repairs to his home and those of relatives and employees.

Winpark Dorchester Properties, Jeff Rabb accused of misusing third-party funds

The Manitoba Security Commission wants Jeff Rabb and Winpark, now known as Alderman Capital, to be barred from practising as a broker for alleged fraud and violation of terms of the Real Estate Brokers Act. (Getty Images)

The Manitoba Securities Commission alleges residential property developer Jeff Rabb and his business misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars for things including building a hockey rink in his backyard, and repairs to his home and those of relatives and employees.

The commission has accused Rabb and his company, Winpark Dorchester Properties, of flawed accounting and misuse of roughly $426,000 — including $365,000 for services, products and supplies charged to third-party property owners managed by Winpark.

Another $61,000 in Power Smart rebate application payments were paid to Winpark by nine properties, the security commission says. The Manitoba Hydro program offered rebates to commercial properties for doing things such as upgrading windows, but the security commission alleges the nine properties that filed applications through Winpark never received the associated efficiency upgrades.

The alleged misappropriations happened between June 2009 and 2015 and affected 50 Winpark-managed properties that were billed from their trust accounts for a variety of jobs that were never completed. 

The allegations haven't yet been proven.

The commission alleges either Rabb or a Winpark director tried to cover their tracks by whiting out job site locations on invoices or receipts and then changing them to other property addresses Winpark manages that hadn't received any services.

Rabb had a company prepare fake invoices suggesting jobs were finished when they hadn't been completed, and those invoices were subsequently given to owners of two Winpark-managed properties, according to the commission.

Personal work charged to properties

Either a general manager or Rabb also had a company providing services to note work was done on Winpark properties when the work was actually carried out on their own personal properties, the commission alleges.

In a similar case, the commission claims a service provider was told to "blend" hours of work done at personal properties of relatives of Rabb and the general manager with work being done at two Winpark properties.

Rabb's girlfriend was billed by a contractor for work completed at her home. Rabb then had the company send the bill to a director of Winpark, and subsequent invoices for work done at his girlfriend's were covered by properties owned or managed by Winpark, the commission says.

The commission also alleges Rabb had a hockey rink built in his backyard and billed 22 Winpark property owners through a series of about 60 cheques.

In another example, a single invoice was distributed to a number of apartment blocks managed by Winpark, in some cases more than once, with different amounts on them, the commission says. 

Rabb allegedly told one employee who received services on their home on behalf of Winpark that it was a "form of bonus," while another worker who received the same was told by Winpark's general manager that it was for not taking any holiday time "for years."

Power Smart

The Power Smart rebate allegations stem from incidents between 2011 and 2014.

In order to receive a rebate, businesses must pass a pre-approval stage. Once the job is completed, they have to submit documentation to that effect before Hydro sends a cheque in the mail.

During that roughly three-year period, Winpark submitted nine applications for nine properties it managed. Hydro would issue just over $61,000 in rebate cheques to Winpark in that time, the security commission says.

Winpark's director cashed the cheques through his personal account, the commission alleges, and in six of those cases the bank drafts indicate a portion of the money was issued to Rabb. In two cases, some of the rebate money was given to Rabb in cash, according to the commission.

All told, the director and Rabb roughly split the rebate money between them equally, the commission says.

In March 2016, Winpark Dorchester changed its name to Alderman Capital Corporation.

The commission suspended Alderman's brokerage licence, and Rabb by extension, in July 2018 when it failed to file an annual trust account report. The suspension expired in January this year.

The Manitoba Security Commission wants Rabb and Winpark, now known as Alderman Capital, to be barred from practising as a broker for fraud and violation of terms of the Real Estate Brokers Act.

About the Author

Bryce Hoye

Reporter

Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology and interests in courts, social justice, health and more. He is the Prairie rep for OutCBC. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.