Last month, B.C.’s financial institutions commission (FICOM) announced a hearing into the alleged legal violations of Vinita Devi Lal, who was identified by authorities as a “shadow” mortgage broker who acted to fraudulently ensure that certain otherwise ineligible individuals would qualify for loans.
Lal supposedly provided altered tax documents to licensed professionals, which led to dozens of people getting granted loans that they are not even qualified for.
Wage inflation was a frequent tool in the deceptive strategy, the FICOM stated. A total of 27 allegedly fraudulent files passed under Lal’s supervision.
Among the most egregious cases were a self-employed fish filleter (annual salary of about $30,000) who was presented as a fish trader ($75,000/year), and a janitor earning $10,881 who was registered with $77,000 in annual income.
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A.K. Singh, who consented to giving up his licence for at least 10 years in connection with the allegations, said that he immediately worked under Lal upon acquiring his licence years ago.
“[Lal] has lots of connections. She had some realtors and then she was with a financial institution and she had lots of clients out there,” Singh told CBC News, adding that a large proportion of the altered documents did not trigger any alarms upon submission to banks.
“It would be fair to say that the size and scale of what we’ve identified is unique in recent memory,” according to Chris Carter, B.C.’s acting registrar of mortgage brokers.
“What we have been clear about with industry is that we don’t tolerate fronting of applications from unregistered parties.”
As of press time, a lawyer for Lal refused to comment, but insisted that the accused will be responding to FICOM’s statements.