A former resident of B.C. allegedly fled Canada after posting a $10,000 release bond following his arrest by immigration officials investigating a scam that saw victims send more than $1 million to fraudsters posing as Canada Revenue Agency employees.
Haoran Charlie Xue, 27, believed to be in China, was charged with nine criminal offences last month in connection with a multi-jurisdictional investigation into an organized crime group that began in 2019.
The details of Xue’s disappearance are concealed in court documents filed in recent months as part of a parallel, ongoing civil battle over the proceeds of the sale of Xue’s former Burnaby, B.C., home, last assessed at $1.9 million.
B.C.’s director of civil forfeiture wants to keep the money as the proceeds of crime, claiming Xue is the real owner, despite the fact the home was registered to his father.
The RCMP’s Federal and Serious Organized Crime unit announced the charges against Xue in September.
Xue allegedly defrauded seven victims out of nearly $200,000, although RCMP claim the total number of Canadians taken in the group’s scam was closer to 70 and the amount they lost nearer to $1 million.
In order to commit fraud on behalf of himself and his associates Xue stole identities of five other people – which he is charged for.
Police said he allegedly posed as a man named David Franklin to rent a Richmond UPS box where victims were allegedly told to send their cash.
‘You are just looking to talk to somebody’
One of the alleged victims of Haoran Xue claims from Calgary, who wants to appear anonymous, said a man who called himself “Mark” called her in May 2019, claiming to be an officer with RBC in Toronto.
The 67-year-old said she lives alone.
The victim said “sometimes, I think when you’re very vulnerable, you are just looking to talk to somebody, And when somebody calls, you pick up the phone to answer it, not knowing that you will face a problem with that person.”
“And they are very smart at convincing you, that’s another thing. And there are people like me who get convinced. That’s my downside.”
“Mark” told her to send $15,000. He appeared to know her address, directing her to a nearby UPS location.
The woman said she is now amazed a bank teller allowed her take out the money.
She also is confused and frustrated about why it took RCMP so long to complete an investigation into an accused who is now far beyond the reach of Canadian authorities.
No show for September 2019 hearing
According to the civil suit, RCMP began investigating Xue in June 2019 as part of a probe into organized crime groups posing as a software company, a bank and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) employees. The investigation said that victims were told to send cash and gift cards to mailboxes in B.C. and Ontario.
Court documents claim Xue transferred $1 million in and out of his bank accounts.
Investigators tailed him for several weeks and ultimately seized a cellphone that they said contained the names of victims and the addresses they were told to send the money.
The RCMP arrested and released Xue in 2019. As a result of the fraud investigation, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also began an immigration investigation.
The court documents disclose that the CBSA arrested Xue and then released him on a $10,000 bond pending a hearing set for September 2019.
The documents say he fled Canada around Aug. 15, 2019, around the same time his father listed the Burnaby house for sale.
‘A respected contributing member of his community’
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has issued a default order against Xue, who hasn’t filed any response to the director of civil forfeiture’s claims.
However, Xue’s father — Zenggang Xue — has retained a B.C. lawyer and filed a response to both the initial claim and a recent application in pursuit of documents from banks, a real estate company and the CBSA.
Zenggang Xue owns a successful propane exchange business in a city 1,000 kilometres west of Beijing. He said that he paid for his sons education at a private college, which is when Xue moved to Canada.
The father allegedly visit Canada several times and was impressed with “the local quality of life.” He used his savings “to accommodate his son while he attended school, generating rental income if possible to offset the mortgage, to possibly retire at this property or simply sell it on the market for profit.”
Zenggang Xue was spending his summer in B.C., in 2019 when RCMP investigated his home to find information about his son. He said he was unaware of the allegations before that.
In his response to the civil claim, Zenggang Xue said “Zenggang is a respected contributing member of his community in the City of Yongji, who never engaged in, or condoned anything, that is contrary to law.”
“Zenggang and his family earned their living honestly by hard work and by their habit of savings which is the only source of funds in purchasing the house.”
The father declared that there is no allegation of wrongdoing on his part and called the application for documents related to the financing of the home “a fishing expedition.”
In May, a judge sided with B.C.’s director of civil forfeiture in ordering the release of the documents in question.
The home will be held by the court until a trial on the merits of the civil claim is complete, which will be determined. None of the criminal allegations have been proven in court.
This article was originally sourced by CBC.