RED DEER- A Red Deer man is due in court next month, accused of using ponzi schemes to steal millions of dollars from investors.
The 45-year-old man is charged with money laundering and fraud after Mounties conducted a search warrant at a home on C&E Trail north of Red Deer on December 19 following a 20-month fraud investigation.
RCMP seized documents relating to the investments and electronics.
Joshua James Tenhove faces charges of laundering the proceeds of crime, fraud over $5,000, and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.
Tenhove is scheduled to appear in court in Red Deer on January 15, at 9:30 a.m.
The complex investigation began in April 2016 after RCMP received reports of suspected fraud involving the purchase, sale and rental of mobile light towers by Silvertip Energy Inc.
The police investigation centred around allegations that the owner of Silvertip Energy had sold or rented light towers with the same serial number to multiple investors and had also sold or rented units that were never manufactured.
Victims of the fraud included five individual investors with estimated total losses of approximately $4 million, and four or more corporations in Canada and the United States with estimated collective losses of $6.2 million, for total losses of approximately $10.2 million.
“This is an example of a Ponzi scheme, where the same light towers were bought and rented numerous times on paper, on behalf of a number of different investors,” says Constable William Lewadniuk of the Red Deer RCMP financial crimes unit. “Each level of a Ponzi scheme includes re-selling the same items to new investors, then paying a portion of that money to previous investors as if it were dividends. Ponzi schemes are like pyramid schemes in that they rely on continually bringing in new investors in order to keep the previous ones from discovering the fraud.”
The Red Deer RCMP financial crimes unit worked closely with the United States Secret Service and FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) throughout the investigation.
“I believe this may be the largest fraud file we’ve seen in Central Alberta,” says Lewadniuk. “The Red Deer RCMP’s cross-border collaboration with the US Secret Service and our ongoing partnership with FINTRAC were vital to its successful conclusion.”
FINTRAC is Canada's financial intelligence unit.
Its mandate is to facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under its control.
The United States Secret Service is mandated by Congress to carry out a unique dual mission, safeguarding the financial and critical infrastructure of the United States, and protecting the nation’s leaders.
RCMP continue to investigate.
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