The RCMP has been called in to investigate allegations by the Bank of Montreal that it has lost $70 million in a massive mortgage scam involving more than a hundred people including lawyers, brokers and even its own employees.
“We’re looking into it right now on a very preliminary basis to determine if there’s enough information to go on and see whether there’s some type of criminal act here,” RCMP Sgt. Patrick Webb said yesterday.
“Once that preliminary look-see is completed, we can determine whether we can take it to our commercial crimes unit and see how far we can get on this investigation.”
The bank, in a lawsuit filed in Calgary, says it has been scammed in several schemes that were first flagged in a security check four years ago. It alleges the defendants found undervalued houses in upscale neighbourhoods, then paid someone a few thousand dollars to put their name on a mortgage application.
Documents were then forged to inflate the value of the property and to fool the bank into believing the buyer had the ability to pay. Once the mortgage was approved, the fraudsters pocketed the profit and the money was sent overseas, the bank says.
The allegations have yet to be proven in court.