Major banks are seeking $2.3 million in repayments on four Vancouver properties allegedly used to launder money.
Recent petitions filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia showed that Coast Capital Savings, Westminster Savings, Vancouver City Savings, and First National Financial are demanding repayment on mortgages and loans on the four homes.
The properties located in Maple Ridge, Burnaby, Mission, and Coquitlam have a collective value of more than $4.5 million. These are among the six assets involved in a case by the BC Civil Forfeiture Office, The Vancouver Sun reported.
The office has alleged that Can Auto Electric and Appliance Repair Ltd operated these properties as fronts for a massive drug organization trading in cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine.
The accused named in the petitions were Ashok Kumar Naidu a.k.a. Roy Naidu, spouse Gina Chinamma Naidu, son Avenel Anish Naidu, and Alisha Ann Watkins. All save Watkins have responded to the allegations, insisting that they are innocent and that their constitutional rights have been violated.
An analysis by former RCMP top investigator Henry Tso has found that organized crime was behind an estimated 90% of mortgage fraud in Canada.
Last year, Tso warned that Canada’s justice system has significant loopholes – most notably, toothless prosecution, feeble sentencing, and insufficient resources for law enforcement – that promote the growth of fraud as a business.
These concerns were echoed by Ontario Real Estate Association CEO Tim Hudak, who has repeatedly called for greater thoroughness and openness in ownership data.
“Currently, weak corporate transparency rules in Canada allow criminals to hide behind anonymous shell companies and wash large amounts of money through housing. That’s because shell companies are permitted to buy homes without disclosing the names of the beneficial owners – those who enjoy the benefits of ownership even though the title of the property is in someone else’s name,” Hudak said.