Guelph man arrested after police uncover scheme that saw 23 people bilked out of $1.4M

A man in handcuffs. Getty Images

A Guelph man has been arrested in connection with a case where at least 23 people were scammed out of more than $1.4 million, according to Waterloo regional police.

Police say they conducted a 14-month investment fraud investigation that began in March 2023.

They say officers worked alongside a number of other agencies, including FINTRAC, to identify 23 victims from across the province.

Police would not provide any further details about the investigations or where the victims were located.

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“To maintain the integrity of the investigation, we are unable to provide details of the scams or specific locations of the victims. We can confirm the range of victims is throughout Ontario,” a police spokesperson told Global News in an email.

On Tuesday, police say officers arrested David Villanueva of Guelph. The 62-year-old is facing a number of charges, including fraud over $5,000, making a false statement in writing and laundering proceeds of crime.

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Waterloo police generally do not name the accused but in this case they believe their may be other victims. They are asking anyone who may be a victim or has information abut the case to call 519-570-9777 ext. 6420.

They offered some advice to residents to avoid becoming victims of fraud, including researching any opportunity that comes your way as well as the company or person you might be dealing with.

They also say to be wary if an investment opportunity provides a higher than normal return on investments.

Police also suggest to keep detailed records and check the legitimacy of investments through regulatory sites.

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