The arrest of five people charged in an alleged fraud scheme totalling $8 million has given some relief to a Waterloo couple.

“Oh, thank God,” Linda Firman said when she heard about the arrests Wednesday night. “It’s been in our nightmares for a few years now.”

Firman, 60, and her husband Bob Firman, 71, invested $50,000 in Commonwealth Capital in 2002 on the advice of their financial adviser, who was with Clarica Life Insurance at the time. Clarica has since been bought out by Sun Life Financial.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the couple discovered their money had not been invested in a financial product backed by Clarica, but had been put into Commonwealth Capital Corporation, a company that was backing the construction of a retirement residence — Emmanuel Village — in Kitchener.

Instead of receiving their $50,000 investment plus interest, the Firmans found out the money was frozen as part of a civil litigation involving Commonwealth founder Bryan Hunking.

Hunking’s partners in Emmanuel Village were arguing in court over who rightfully owned the development and the property, and the Firmans’ investment had been frozen.

Bryan Hunking, 59, and Judith Hunking, 57, of Elmira, and Inderpal Bajaj, 55, Rajesh Chowdhry, 48, and Ajindrapal Singh, 54, all of Brampton, have been charged with fraud-related offences.

The group is accused of holding financial seminars in Toronto in 2000 and encouraging investors to put money into its companies, with the promise of large returns through an offshore Indian Money Market.

But police allege the money was funnelled into Emmanuel Village and none of the investors saw a return.