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Frauds reported in the media – Week of October 17th

Investigation Counsel Fraud Recovery Lawyers

Victims of text message scam plead for more protection from their banks

By: CBC News
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 17, 2016

Instead of bringing in some extra money to help pay bills, Kristen Isabel and her husband are scrambling to repay their credit union after being scammed out of nearly $3,000. Like many Canadians, Isabel responded to a text offering her money to carry a company ad on her car.

Cheque overpayment scam

Isabel is one of dozens of Canadians CBC Montreal Investigates heard from after reading their story about the latest cheque overpayment scam. In that story, Louanne Cataford, a Montreal college student, ended up on the hook for almost $4,000 after falling for a similar offer in an unsolicited text.

Scams prevented by media story

CBC Montreal Investigates heard from many other victims desperate to get their money back. Some of their banks had frozen their accounts, leaving them unable to pay their rent. There were also some happy endings. Some people had signed onto the job scam and were either waiting for cheques or on the verge of depositing cheques that were almost certainly counterfeit when they read Cataford’s story. They immediately cut off all communication with the scammers.

Read more about the scam at CBC News.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Nova Scotia couple charged with fraud after same barn sold twice

By: CBC News
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 17, 2016

A Nova Scotia couple have been charged with fraud under $5,000 after allegedly selling the same barn to two different buyers. Martin Kaelble and his wife Lori Bledin are scheduled to make their first appearance in Shubenacadie provincial court on Dec. 5.

Online ad on Kijiji

Victoria Newman-Jones first saw an online ad for the barn in March. She paid $4,500 for it, and had it transported to her property, where it remains today. Around the same time that Newman-Jones purchased the barn, Mary Jewers saw an ad for the same building on Kijiji. She said she was unaware it had already been sold to Newman-Jones.

Multiple attempts to get the money back

Not only did Jewers lose the $4,000, she said she and her husband both took a week off work to excavate the property to prepare it for the barn. She said she called Kaelbe multiple times to try and get her money back. She also called the RCMP. CBC was unable to reach Kaelble for comment.

Read the full article at CBC News.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Kingston man sentenced to almost a year in jail for multiple frauds

By: The Wig
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 18, 2016

A 42-year-old Kingston man readily admitted to using the stolen Visa and debit cards of two different individuals over the summer; defrauding Money Mart, using a cheque stolen from the home of an elderly man who had recently died and attempting to defraud a different Money Mart.

Forbidden to possess cheques, credit or debit

He also consequently violated a release undertaking that forbid him possessing any cheques, credit or debit cards or any other financial instrument not in his own name. But Angelo F. Oliviera claims he didn’t steal the Visa, the debit card or the cheques. He claimed the plastic and the paper were given to him by other individuals.

It was enough to garner Oliviera 11 months and seven days in jail, on top of 14 days of pretrial custody, plus probation for 18 months and, at his own insistence, restitution orders totalling $1,096.89.

Drug problem and treatment program

Defence lawyer Dawn Quelch, who assisted Oliviera with his pleas, disclosed that he has a drug problem and wanted a sentence long enough to get him into a drug treatment program. She asked Justice O’Brien to recommend that he serve his time in a treatment centre. Oliviera insisted that he wants to pay and told the judge that he wants to get clean for himself.

Read the more about this case at The Wig.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Victims of dishonest lawyers can now get compensation up to $500,000

By: The Lawyers Weekly
Edited by: Investigation Counsel

Date: October 18, 2016

Clients who have money stolen by dishonest lawyers in Ontario can now be compensated by the Law Society of Upper Canada for up to $500,000 – a dramatic increase over the previous limit of $150,000. It is the first increase the regulatory body has made in the compensation limit since 2008. It was approved by members of convocation, the law society’s board of directors, at their sept. 22 meeting. The new policy is not retroactive.

Majority stays under previous limit

Carol Hartman, chair of the Law Society’s five-member compensation fund committee predicted that the vast majority of claims will continue to be under the previous limit of $150,000. According to LSUC statistics, the average claim related to the lawyers’ fund over the past five years has been $101,000, and an average of $5,800 for paralegal claims.

Honest lawyers paying for fraudsters

Not all lawyers are delighted by the increase. “We are all for victims of fraud perpetrated by lawyers obtaining a recovery, but we have concerns about using LUSC membership dues of honest lawyers to pay for this,” said lawyer Norman Groot. “We would hope that all assets of the fraudster lawyer are seized, frozen or otherwise forfeited by one means or another before honest lawyers are paying for the sins of those being disbarred.”

Read the more about the increased compensation in The Lawyers Weekly, Oct. 21, 2016 issue.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Customer survey scam lures victims with gift card to steal identity

By: The Telegraph
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 19, 2016

We have all seen the ads: “Take our short survey and receive a $50 gift card!” Offers like this claim to be gathering customer feedback for legitimate businesses; however, many really may be promoting spammy products or be after your personal information. With the holidays upon us, scammers know that more people will be spending time online and looking for deals.

Promotion of other products or information for identity theft

This scam works when you receive an email or text message inviting you to complete a customer satisfaction survey. The message says all you need to do is answer a few questions, and you will receive a gift card. The survey seems normal. After you complete the survey, the site says you are now entitled to your prize. Unfortunately, the $50 gift card is “out of stock,” so you are instructed to choose one of several dubious products.

Read more about the costumer survey scam at The Telegraph.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Tech support scammers preying on young people, study finds

By: Naked Security
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 19, 2016

How easily are computer users fooled by bogus technical support scams? A new study from Microsoft suggests the chances of losing money when encountering this kind of scam are a surprising – and shocking – one in five. The firm questioned 12,000 people who’d run into tech support cons in 12 countries (1,000 per country) uncovering marked national variations in susceptibility.

Canada one of the most resistant nations

Top of the list is India, where 22% of those targeted fell for the ruse, with the US and China close behind on 21% and 16% respectively. Only 2% of Britons lost money, making them by some distance the most resistant nation of those studied, with Germany, Denmark, France and Canada also achieving low victim rates.

Read more about tech support scammers at Naked Security.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Tax-dodging dentist gets five years in jail for failing to pay fine

By: Global News
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 20, 2016

An Ottawa dentist has been handed an additional five-year prison sentence for deliberately choosing not to pay her original fine. Tania Kovaluk was previously convicted of tax evasion after pleading guilty in November 2012 to multiple counts of evading income and sales taxes and of counseling others to deliberately ignore tax bills. She was originally sentenced to two years, five months in jail and fined $887,328 (read more).

Canada Revenue Agency investigation

But the Canada Revenue Agency says that since Kovaluk was released from jail, she has made no effort to pay the fine. She knowingly failed to report almost $2.6 million in income between 2003 and 2007, avoiding $721,000 in taxes.  “In addition to spending large amounts of money on personal luxury items such as art, jewelry, vacations, a home in Ottawa, and personal home furnishings, Kovaluk invested her money in offshore assets, including two villas in Costa Rica,” the Canada Revenue Agency said in a release Wednesday.

‘Tax protest’ schemes are a growing concern

“The Canada Revenue Agency is the victim of a widespread and continually growing scheme to defraud the federal government of millions of dollars in tax revenues,” said the assessment from the CRA’s Enforcement and Disclosures Directorate. “Law-abiding taxpayers need to be reassured that fraud does not pay, or they will look to join the multitude of fraudsters.”

Read more about the tax protester schemes at Global News.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

CRA nets $240M from probe of real estate tax cheats in B.C. and Ont.

By: CBC News
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 20, 2016

The Canada Revenue Agency says it has recovered more than $240 million from audits related to probes of tax cheating on real estate in British Columbia and Ontario. According to figures published on the CRA’s website, the bulk of the money comes from probes in Ontario, where the federal department has recovered $210.4 million through more the 13,400 audits conducted between April 2015 and September 2016.

Canada Revenue Agency audits

In July, CRA confirmed to CBC that it was bulking up its scrutiny of the B.C. real estate market, which had been seeing a feverish run-up in house prices in Vancouver. “These audits focused on the areas where the risk of non-compliance was highest, mainly related to property flips and GST/HST non-compliance,” the agency said back then.

Monitoring real estate transactions

“The real estate project was not undertaken to address questions of housing affordability. The CRA does not have any role to play concerning the affordability of real estate …Transactions in the Greater Toronto Area have been the subject of greater scrutiny for a number of years. More recently, the CRA has been actively monitoring and auditing real estate transactions in British Columbia.

Read more about tax fraud on real estate at CBC News.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Trial opens in large maple syrup theft in Quebec

By: The National Post
Edited by: Investigation Counsel
Date: October 20, 2016

Richard Vallières is charged with theft, fraud and trafficking. Étienne St-Pierre is charged with fraud and trafficking. Jean Lord and Raymond Vallières are charged with possession of stolen syrup. The victims are the 7,500 producers of maple syrup.

Provincial syrup-marketing organization

Beauchamp-Laliberté said the theft and fraud were committed against the provincial syrup-marketing organization, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. The purloined syrup was pumped into a black market that undermines the quotas and prices established by the federation, he said.

Read more about the great maple syrup heist at The National Post.
Read more at Canadian Fraud News Inc.

Selected article by Canadian Fraud News:

The debtor’s jail in fraud recovery through the criminal process

Norman Groot

About Norman Groot

Based on my police experience and my experience thereafter as a litigator, I have joined forces with other lawyers with police experience and created the law firm Investigation Counsel Professional Corporation.

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