BMO has filed a lawsuit alleging hundreds of Albertans conned them out of as much as $30 million, CBC reports.
Legal documents obtained by CBC news state lawyers, mortgage brokers, and four of BMO's employees were all in on one of the largest mortgage fraud cases in Canadian history. According to the documents, the fraudsters generated at least $140 million, half of which was for fake mortgages.
BMO allegedly discovered the scam after its security department noticed "irregularities" in some of their western Canada mortgages back in 2006. The bank claims the fraudsters would identify the worst home in a good neighbourhood, buy it, and use the neighbourhood's quality to leverage the property's value leading to over-inflated mortgages.
The bank claims the conmen hired "straw buyers", people who put their names down on the mortgage for a fee, and created fake income documents to make the buyers appear more affluent. From there, the group's lawyers (17 have been named in the lawsuit) allegedly drafted the necessary legal documents for the purchase to be legitimized.
BMO's investigators claim to have seized records that show millions of dollars connected to the scam being transferred to Lebanon, India, Saudia Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.