By Jensen, Randy on July 31, 2020.
Lethbridge Police have charged two men in connection with a multi-million-dollar investment fraud.
In June 2018, members of the Economic Crimes Unit initiated an extensive, long-term investigation into a multi-million-dollar investment fraud spanning multiple jurisdictions across Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan, police said in a news release. Police determined a Lethbridge man had been defrauded of over $3.1 million by Calgary-based investment company RAEU Global.
The victim was seeking more than $25 million to build a major project in Ontario and required capital to proceed. RAEU, and an Okotoks brokering firm – Taurus Capital – agreed to provide the money necessary to fund the project, however, as part of the deal it was stipulated that a $3.1-million “down payment” was required.
The victim raised the down payment by seeking out several of his own investors then met with RAEU representatives on multiple occasions to complete the transaction. The down payment was provided, but the loan was never fulfilled. Further investigation revealed the money was taken and transferred to bank accounts belonging to associates of RAEU, including several accounts in the Czech Republic.
Josef Korec, 46, of Calgary, is charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and money laundering. Korec fled Canada before he could be arrested and is currently residing in the Czech Republic. A warrant for his arrest has been issued.
Dustin Ritter, 36, of Okotoks, is charged with fraud over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. Ritter was arrested on July 23 in Okotoks and released from custody by a Justice of the Peace. He is scheduled to appear in court in Lethbridge Sept. 3.