A mortgage broker and a lawyer are each facing more than a dozen counts of theft and fraud after police uncovered a multi-million dollar financing fraud that affected at least eight property owners in 2012.
A Calgary couple sold their house for more than $2 million in June 2012 and provided the sale money to a lawyer, identified by police as Floyd Campbell, 46, to be placed in a trust account until the sale conditions were fulfilled. Six months later, once the conditions were satisfied, the couple tried to contact Campbell but he had left the province with all of their money, police said.
Between June and December of that year, police also claim Campbell and a mortgage broker, Brandon Antonini, defrauded investors through mortgage bridge financing. The pair allegedly obtained personal information from homeowners and then approached investors without the consent of the homeowners. They allegedly told investors that they required money for bridge financing — high-interest, short-term loans — and said the investors would receive their money back plus interest.
But police say Campbell fled to Winnipeg and most of the investors’ money went missing — believed to be more than $3 million.
“The money’s gone,” said Staff Sgt. Kristie Verheul of the CPS Economic Crimes Unit. “The investigation that we are doing has revealed that the money has gone internationally and we are still looking into that.
Verheul said police were notified of the cases once the defrauded investors and homeowners came forward. She said the case reinforces the importance of practicing due diligence when searching for lawyers or brokers.
“The people that perpetrated this fraud are in positions of trust,” Verheul said. “If you don’t do your due diligence and check into that, you could be defrauded quite easily because you’ve put your trust in those people.”
Campbell is charged with 15 counts of theft over $5,000, and 15 counts of fraud over $5,000. The 46-year-old had earlier been disbarred by the Alberta Law Society and will next appear in court on July 17.
Antonini has been charged with 14 counts of theft over $5,000 and 15 counts of fraud over $5,000. He will next appear in court on June 9 and his mortgage broker license from the Real Estate Council of Alberta has been withdrawn.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police.
“We are suspecting that there are more victims out there and we want to encourage anyone who believes they are a victim associated with this to come forward,” Verheul said.