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    Rainbow Investigations Comment - The BMO Mortgage Fraud Lawsuit of May 2010.

    The news of the big BMO lawsuit onto several mortgage fraud fraudsters brought quite a media reaction both here in Calgary and across Canada.

    Of particular interest to Rainbow Investigations was the reaction of people in Eastern Canada, many of who referred to this 30 million dollar law suit “as the biggest financial fraud in Canadian history”.

    However, to anybody who is familiar with the real estate world in Calgary, what have come out so far through the legal process is simply just peanuts. While our research seems to indicate some level of obtaining inflated mortgages through flipping residential real estate houses has been a part of the Calgary real estate investment scene since at least early 2002, (could be even earlier than that), there is no question that the practice hit a major spike in the time period of 2006-2007. This was a period of phenomenal growth in Calgary, and real estate prices escalated astronomically.

    Obviously these external factors, and some other factors, led to the development of a number of “groups” of entrepreneurs who felt there was a great opportunity to make money, and we mean real money, in real estate. Other factors clearly aiding mortgage fraud in Calgary include the loose regulatory environment of real estate in Alberta, the easy manipulation of the land titles system in Alberta, the fact that most of the banks involved in these scams in Calgary do not have their main head offices here, (and many of these banks' officials, from stuffy offices in Ontario, have no clue what is going on here in Alberta), and the lack of any effective criminal investigative presence by law enforcement on this issue in Alberta.

    All of this has led the Calgary area to be the capital of mortgage fraud in Canada by a mile. While the attempt by BMO to go after the fraudsters from 2006-2007 is laudable, our reaction, and our clients reaction is “it is about time!” While Eastern Canada is shocked by the potential 30 million dollar loss by the BMO, we have to point out this fraud has not by any stretch of the imagination, a BMO specific fraud. All 5 of the major national banks have been hit by this scam, as well as numerous other mortgages providers such as MCAP, Resmor, First National, etc. etc. So what is before the courts now is only a small part of mortgage fraud in Calgary.

    Just to demonstrate the depth of mortgage fraud in Calgary, Rainbow Investigations came onto this scene in May of 2008, well after all the BMO actions of this lawsuit had all been completed, and the vast majority of the properties in this lawsuit were in foreclosure. We have had 40 clients, (victim buyers for the most part who were coerced into getting involved), since we started on this issue, and none of our clients include any dealings of these BMO matters. In fact, we have had very few BMO files in our 26 months on this issue.

    While the size and complexity of the BMO lawsuit is out of this world, and we can’t help know if this particular lawsuit of this size is even manageable, we admire BMO for finally taking the first step to getting this fraud under control in Calgary. We admire BMO for going after the fraudsters, and not just trying to get a “judgment” on the foreclosure from the person on the mortgage, the “victim buyer”, and then simply taking the judgment to the insurance company to get reimbursed for the mortgage, and then going on as if it is business as usual. This latter process has been the way many banks in Calgary have dealt with this issue, and that methodology does nothing to even address the mortgage fraud issue.

    Some, but not all, of the law offices representing the mortgagors are very cool to the victim buyer. Some of these lawyers feel the victim buyer is part of the scam because the victim buyer may have accepted a small amount of cash once getting involved. Some of these lawyers have no empathy to the victim buyer, and don’t want to assist them in allowing 3rd party notices to be filed.

    We have met probably over 100 victim buyers by now, and the very vast majority of them are completely stressed out over this situation. Some can handle this adversity reasonable well; others can’t handle it at all. But the victim buyers are victims – just like telemarketing scam victims are victims. Anyone who disagrees with this view needs to have their annual checkup pretty soon!

    Up to this point, the only recourse for victim buyers in Calgary faced with huge foreclosure judicial deficiencies on the mortgage has been to try to fight the foreclosure themselves through civil law by doing 3rd party notices on the fraudsters. This process requires a fair amount of investigation, and an understanding of civil foreclosure law that the vast majority of lay people do not have. Furthermore, the majority of victim buyers do not have anywhere near close to the resources to fight this through the law office way.

    But more importantly, the straw buyer having to address the mortgage fraud themselves through civil law, simply puts all the attention on the straw buyer fighting the bank, when in fact what should be happening is that the bank and the victim buyer should be uniting, along with all the other affected parties, to go after these mortgage fraudsters in a united front.

    At Rainbow Investigations, we have continued to advocate that all the parties who have interests in this matter, and that includes the banks, the Law Society, the Real Estate Council of Alberta, parties representing victims and even law enforcement have got to come together, share information in an uncompromising way, and we have to make a united and concerted effort to get at these fraudsters, and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this type of blatant mortgage fraud has no place in our society.

    We have finally started to turn this vehicle in the right direction, and now the freeway is clear, so it is time to put the petal to the metal and go after these fraudsters in an uncompromising way.

    As Michael Buffer would say, oh so well, “Are you ready to rumble…” Rainbow Investigations is ready; how about the rest of you who can make a difference on this issue?

    Date of Story: Sunday, June 06, 2010
    Story Posted By: Ron Reinhold
    Source: Ron Reinhold

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