TORONTO, March 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The RCMP's Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Financial Crime team has arrested and charged six people after thousands of investors and the Government of Canada lost millions of dollars in a 'fraudulent investment scheme'.
The investigation began in April 2012 when the RCMP received information that people were involved in a possible 'tax avoidance scheme'. The RCMP Financial Crime members commenced an investigation which included interviewing witnesses and suspects, the execution of search warrants and the analysis of thousands of pages of documentation.
As a result of their investigation, the RCMP determined that since 2004, at least six individuals enticed thousands of investors to participate in an alleged illegal tax shelter. Investors were led to believe that they could legitimately purchase a company's business losses that could then be used to lower their taxable incomes. It is alleged that many of these losses were fraudulent because the companies involved with the accused did not have agreements for their losses to be transferred over to third parties. In other instances, the businesses that provided a large portion of the losses were controlled by the accused. It is also alleged that these losses were fabricated. The accused received a percentage of the allegedly fictitious losses. In many instances, these business losses resulted in substantial illegitimate income tax refund cheques being issued to these claimants off the backs of taxpayers.
On March 26, investigators from the RCMP Financial Crime team arrested six individuals. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance today at Old City Hall Courthouse in Toronto, Ontario.
Since 2004, the risk of financial loss by the Government of Canada because of this specific fraud exceeds 200 million dollars. The companies used by the accused to run this scheme included: Integrated Business Concepts (IBC), Synergy Group 2000, Cason Global Wealth Association (CGWA) and IBCA 2009.
During the course of the investigation, the RCMP executed search warrants at businesses located at 202-235 Yorkland Blvd in Toronto and 795 Spillsbury Drive in Peterborough. The following six individuals have been charged with two (2) counts of Fraud over $5000 and Commission of an Offence for a Criminal Organization, contrary to the Criminal Code:
- Vincent "Vince" Villanti (age 66) of Whitby
- Shane Davidson Smith (age 46) of Peterborough
- David Prentice (age 52) of Oakville
- Ravendra "Ravi"Chaudhary (age 65) of North York
- Andrew Lloyd (age 42) of Pickering
- Joe Loschiavo (age 49 ) of Etobicoke
This is an ongoing investigation and further arrests and charges are possible.
"The RCMP is committed to protecting Canadians from fraudulent investments that serve to undermine the integrity of Canada's financial systems." stated Insp. Henry Tso of the RCMP's Financial Crime Section. "Maintaining Canada's economic integrity is a priority for the RCMP and we will continue to work diligently to bring these criminals to justice."
The RCMP would like to thank the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) for their valuable contribution to this investigation.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to this 'illegal tax shelter', please contact the RCMP GTA Central Intake unit at 1-855-253-7267.
SOURCE: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
For further information:
Sgt Richard Rollings
RCMP Media Relations
"O" Division (Ontario)