Man and woman facing 80 charges in relation to $7.8M real estate Ponzi scheme in Alberta, B.C.

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Two people are facing more than 80 charges after an investigation into a Ponzi scheme targeting investors in Alberta, B.C., the U.S. and Australia.

Edmonton police say Curtis Quigley and Kathleen Treadgold, both 56 years old, turned themselves in to police Wednesday.

The two are accused of offering a guarantee to real estate investors that they would see a return on their investment, which was often presented as a real estate flip, according to the Edmonton Police Service. Police allege the suspects did this by offering securities in the form of promissory notes.

Quigley and Treadgold are jointly charged with 80 counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of laundering proceeds of crime following an investigation that involved the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency and the Alberta Securities Commission.

Police say investigators became aware of a Ponzi scheme targeting investors in Kelowna and Edmonton in early 2020.

The scheme was often run under the name Group Venture Inc. and operated from October 2008 to December 2020, police allege.

Police say the scheme was worth $7.8 million and investigators believe there may be more victims. Those who may have been a victim are encouraged to contact police.

Police warn that legitimate investment opportunities should always provide verification, like a listing and land title for a real estate investment.

Officers also advise investors to research the company by checking the Better Business Bureau, doing a corporate search and checking with the Alberta Securities Commission to see if the seller is registered to sell securities.

Det. Linda Herczeg with the EPS financial crimes section said Ponzi schemes often spread by word of mouth and that the initial investors usually make at least a portion of their money back, making it seem legitimate.

“If you’ve got a lot of people investing and it’s lucrative for the scam artist or fraudster, then they’re able to give returns and they’re able to provide the interest realization that they promised,” she said.

Herczeg said the investors will be encouraged and invest more money, and that’s when the money dries up.

“From the very beginning, I encourage people to do their checks and balances. Check out the person, check out the business,” said Herczeg.

“The whole process at the beginning of providing information and documentation, if you’ve got anything that tells you something’s off, don’t dismiss it.”

This article was originally sourced from www.globalnews.ca