veteran Richard LeBlanc is upset that a convicted mortgage fraudster has been handed what he terms a slap on the wrist, a lenient sentence that threatens to tar all brokers with the same brush.
“It is going to reflect badly on us, and badly on the industry. if this joker is allowed to walk away,” says LeBlanc, of Dominion Lending Centers Venture Mortgage in Yarmouth, N.S. ”He should be in jail – CAAMP
should jump on top of this guy. CAAMP and CMHC should insist that the lenders go after him for restitution.”
Former real estate and mortgage broker Raymond Michael Nelson was at the nexus of one of the largest mortgage frauds in Nova Scotia's history.
Nelson faced 96 charges involving 32 counts of fraud, 32 counts of forgery and 32 counts of uttering forged documents in a scam involving 11 individuals, including a lawyer and an appraiser and more than 30 properties. The combined frauds were in excess of $6 million.
On March 4, Nelson pleaded guilty to one count of uttering forged documents, resulting in a sentence of one year probation and an $8,000 fine (plus $1,200 court costs). No jail, no restitution.
So far only one defrauded lender has taken the appraiser to court for restitution.
“It all started when the real estate registrar immediately revoked his licence, then the mortgage registrar revoked his licence,” says LeBlanc. “Then the RCMP got involved, and five years later he walks away with a slap on the wrist. He must be laughing, but this is an insult to the mortgage industry and a great miscarriage of justice!”
Nelson committed the fraud he's pleaded guilty to between 2006 and 2008 while still a broker, collecting documents from clients and submitting them to lenders in support of mortgage applications. He allegedly submitted inflated rents on documents to the lenders, thereby falsely increasing the value of the properties, and increasing his commissions from the total mortgage funds advanced.
Nelson was fined $40,000 in 2008 and promised never to reapply for a real estate broker’s licence, following his conviction for several offenses at a tribunal held by the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission.
“There should be a jail term, he needs to be punished,” says LeBlanc. “It does not send a good message. We as brokers need to draw attention to this.”