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Gunman in Toronto office shooting blamed victims for ‘losing our life’s savings’

Click to play video: 'More details emerge about fatal Toronto office shooting'
More details emerge about fatal Toronto office shooting
WATCH: More details emerge about fatal Toronto office shooting – Jun 19, 2024

A gunman who allegedly killed two people in a Toronto office building earlier this week blamed them for “losing our life’s savings,” his spouse says.

Arash Missaghi and Samira Yousefi were shot dead on Monday in an office building off Mallard Road in North York, near Don Mills and York Mills roads.

The shooter, a 46-year-old man, also died at the scene, Toronto police said.

Officials have not released his identity, but his wife — Alisa Pogorelovsky — said her husband, Alan Kats, “could not handle losing our life’s savings” in an alleged mortgage fraud Missaghi and Yousefi were being accused of.

“The events that gave rise to the litigation that we are involved in with Missaghi and Yousefi have devastated and now destroyed our family. Alan could not handle losing our life’s savings and that is what lead to this tragic event,” Pogorelovsky said in a statement to Global News.

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“He wrote a note before he died that I found today which explains what he was thinking and why he acted as he did. I hope that someday my family will be able to recover.”

‘Stop these criminals from destroying people’s lifes’

That note, which Pogorelovsky shared, said Kats’s death was “in the hands of” Missaghi and Yousefi, as well as two other individuals.

“Stop these criminals from destroying people’s lifes,” the note read.

Arash Missaghi is pictured in this March 2014 photo. Missaghi was shot dead on Monday in North York. Randy Risling/Toronto Star via Getty Images

On Monday, gunshots rang out at the office building around 3:30 p.m., police said.

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Speaking at the scene, Det.-Sgt. Al Bartlett said before the shooting took place, an altercation “in relation” to the business unfolded.

Missaghi and Yousefi were named in a lawsuit filed this year by Pogorelovsky, who accused the duo of being involved in a “syndicated mortgage fraud” that saw her lose $1.28 million, court filings show.

Click to play video: 'Toronto office shooting: Suspect upset over losing life’s savings, wife says'
Toronto office shooting: Suspect upset over losing life’s savings, wife says

“An aggressive mortgage broker encouraged the plaintiff’s principal to free up capital in the family home to invest in private mortgages with other participants to earn high interest,” court records read.

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“Once the plaintiff invested the funds, the returns on investments would be paid for long enough to allow the recipients to move the money around and out of reach.”

Samira Yousefi was identified as one of the victims in a fatal shooting in North York on Monday. Samira Yousefi/Facebook

In March 2018, Missaghi, who has faced a lengthy history of lawsuits, was charged by Toronto police in an alleged mortgage fraud investigation dubbed “Project Bridle Path,” which involved high-end real estate around the city.

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Police alleged he was involved in a series of fraudulent transactions that netted around $17 million in a scheme that dated back to before 2013. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General told Global News in a statement Wednesday that in July 2021, the Crown withdrew the charges against Missaghi.

Court ordered assets of accused to be frozen

In Pogorelovsky’s lawsuit, a judge ordered the assets of Missaghi, Yousefi and other defendants to be frozen after hearing Pogorelovsky’s original motion.

According to the lawsuit, Pogorelovsky’s family wanted to create an investment fund by releasing the equity in their home. They mortgaged it, and paid into a fund that promised a higher rate of return with investments in syndicated private mortgages.

The lawsuit alleges Yousefi operated Saarad Investments Inc., the “front for the scheme.” The funds managed by Yousefi were to be secured on mortgages in the Greater Toronto Area. Two real estate lawyers represented the “syndicate,” the lawsuit claims, alleging they were affiliated with the scheme that was an “elaborate ruse to obtain the plantiff’s money.”

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Click to play video: 'Deceased in Toronto commercial building shooting identified'
Deceased in Toronto commercial building shooting identified

Over time, Pogorelovsky invested $850,000, $400,000 and $80,000 in three properties. Pogorelovsky “hounded” Yousefi for progress on investment returns, the lawsuit alleges. She eventually started to receive some small payments, which “appear to have been efforts to comfort the plaintiff as to the progress of the mortgage investments,” court documents read.

“The plaintiff finally discovered there were no mortgages on the properties securing the plaintiff’s investments. The plaintiff hired lawyers, whose investigations into the matters turned up similarities to a number of mortgage fraud schemes allegedly organized by Arash Missaghi,” the filing reads.

“Much of the evidence on the scheme was speculative, but the plaintiff proved the essential elements of the fraud for the purposes of injunctive relief, in that the plaintiff was parted from its money and never received much back beyond the dribs and drabs clearly intended to buy time to dispose of the money.”

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The lawsuit added Pogorelovsky eventually lost the family home, and was left with $331,425 in her bank account.

In February, the judge hearing the case ordered the accused’s assets be frozen. However, the lawsuit stated while two of the defending parties responded, the others did not.

“That is somewhat telling, in that all the remaining defendants managed to stay functioning, and even some hiring lawyers, despite a court order freezing all their bank accounts,” the documents read.

“Apart from a small amount frozen in one of the other defendants’ bank accounts, the other non-lawyer defendants have so far not been affected by the order.”

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A GoFundMe page was started for Kats’s widow.

Police investigation ongoing

Aside from identifying Missaghi and Yousefi, Toronto police have not shared any new information since Monday evening.

Click to play video: 'Toronto lobby shooting: Suspect among the deceased, police say'
Toronto lobby shooting: Suspect among the deceased, police say

The police investigation remains ongoing.

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Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

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