LETHBRIDGE — A 63-year-old southern Alberta woman and her two adult children have been charged in an alleged Ponzi scheme that duped a B.C. resident out of more than $500,000.
The RCMP’s Integrated Market Enforcement Team says a 2 1/2 year investigation has resulted in charges of theft, fraud, money laundering, and possession of proceeds of crime against the three.
The three are accused of operating a Ponzi scheme in which the victim lost more than $560,000 by buying into an investment scheme that promised short-term returns as high as 100 per cent through the resale of event tickets.
It’s alleged the offences occurred between April 1, 2009 and Oct. 31, 2010.
Police say there could be more alleged victims.
Marisa Giovanna Campanelli-Pittarelli, 63, Anthony Pittarelli, 42, and Claudia Pittarelli, 36., all of Lethbridge, are charged.
Police allege the three operated Front Row Tickets, one of several companies sanctioned late last year by the Alberta Securities Commission for illegally selling at least $15 million worth of securities and making misrepresentations to investors between 2005 and 2007.
Police allege Front Row Tickets and other related business ventures were part of a Ponzi scheme which defrauded hundreds of investors in Western Canada and the United States.
According to police, investors were promised high short-term rates of return when in fact there was no legitimate ticket resale business, and investors were paid with money from other investors.