Two men charged in $23M fraud case

CALGARY — Two Alberta men accused of bilking 1,314 Canadian investors out of more than $23 million have been charged with fraud and theft.

CALGARY — Two Alberta men accused of bilking 1,314 Canadian investors out of more than $23 million have been charged with fraud and theft.

RCMP allege the men behind a Calgary company called Concrete Equities Inc. promised investors huge returns if they purchased a stake in undeveloped beach property in Mexico called the Golfo de Santa Clara project.

The investors included people from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

“People invested as a limited partner to these investments and they were all putting in between $10,000 and $100,000. And these investments were RSP eligible,” RCMP Sgt. Conal Archer said Wednesday.

“They put their money in and were hoping they were going to get upwards of 500 per cent returns — what these fellows were telling them.”

The RCMP’s financial integrity unit alleges the men diverted money to other businesses and stole investors’ money from 2007 until Concrete Equities crumbled into receivership in 2009.

Dave Humeniuk of St. Albert faces charges of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and money laundering, and is to appear in court Feb. 27.

A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Varun Aurora, of Calgary, who faces fraud and theft charges. Police believe he may be out of the country.

In January 2012, both men were fined and disciplined by the Alberta Securities Commission over the sale of limited partnership securities worth $110 million.

The cases involved the Mexico project and other business deals involving Concrete Equities and Calgary office and retail buildings.

The commission ordered both men to stop trading or selling securities.

Humeniuk was also permanently banned from being an officer or a director of any financial security company and ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $3.3 million — the largest fine ever levied by the commission on an individual.

Aurora was banned from being an officer or a director of any financial security company until 2021 and ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $500,000.

Media reports say both men declared personal bankruptcy in 2009.

“Much harm resulted from all of this misconduct,” reads the commission’s Jan. 9. 2012 ruling.

“Prospective investors were given misleading information and denied the prospectus disclosure and registrant involvement to which they were entitled to by law.”

Archer said the charges laid by RCMP pertain strictly to the Mexico beach property investment.

He said police began the probe after receiving a complaint in 2009 from an investor. A whole team of officers was assigned to the investigation last year.

With fraud prevention month set to begin in March, Archer has a tip for people who are considering where to invest their money.

“I would say to people just to do their due diligence and be very careful that they do a lot of research into the corporations that they might be investing into,” he said.

“My recommendation would be not to invest in any company that has no assets.”

Just Posted

Physicians urge Ottawa to pay another $21B over decade for seniors health care

OTTAWA — Physicians are calling on the federal government to shell out… Continue reading

‘I didn’t want to do something frivolous’: Sting’s play to make Toronto debut

TORONTO — Drawing Canadian theatregoers to a politically charged musical about an… Continue reading

Japan, EU sign trade deal to eliminate nearly all tariffs

TOKYO — The European Union and Japan signed a landmark deal on… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports manufacturing sales up 1.4 per cent in May

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales increased 1.4 per cent to… Continue reading

Former Mountie who fired Taser at Robert Dziekanski drops appeal of sentence

VANCOUVER — The former RCMP constable who fired a Taser at a… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month