Calgary police charge 3 in multi-million dollar fraud investigation
WATCH: Joseph Edison, once well-respected in Calgary’s charity community, has been charged along with his son and daughter-in-law, in an $8-million fraud case. Tony Tighe reports.
CALGARY – Three people have been charged in a fraud investigation involving an elderly victim losing more than $8 million. The investigation also led to a search warrant that resulted in $65,000 worth of gold as well as silver and jewels seized from the suspected fraudsters.
“The offender reached out and was introduced to the elderly victim and established a strong friendship for a number of years,” said Calgary Police Staff Sergeant Kristie Verheul. “From there…the trust built in that relationship was used to convince that high-yield investment.”
The main suspect allegedly used false charities as a front to convince the victim to invest large sums of money between December 2014 and May 2015, police said.
“I’m going to liken it to Pandora’s Box,” said Staff Sgt. Verheul. “We came in with a very small scope: one victim with $8 million, and from what our investigation has revealed right now, the search warrant yesterday seized three cube vans full of documents and evidence.”
Police believe the following fraudulent charities—which are not registered with the Canada Revenue Agency—were used to fool the victim:
- Humanitarian Foundation of Canada
- World Job and Food Bank
- Canadian Organization for International Development Strategies Foundation
- Lepidoptera Inc.
- Antennae Inc.
- Calgary Community Outreach Services Society
“The money donated by this victim is believed to have been funneled through the charities to international accounts,” said police in a Thursday release.
Police searched two residences and one business on Wednesday in the city’s southwest.
Evidence and property seized during the searches include:
- Forged bank and government documents
- Fraudulent documents for investment accounts
- Pyramid scheme accounts
- $65,000 worth of gold
- 10 computers
- Banking records and account ledgers
- Safe deposit box keys
Once keys to the safe deposit boxes were found, police executed an additional search warrant on Thursday, and found silver, jewels, coins and various types of currencies in the boxes.
Two Calgarians have been charged in the investigation, one remains outstanding on warrants and a fourth woman has been released after an initial arrest.
Joseph Edison, also known as Joseph Edison Fernando, 66, has been charged with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and forgery.
Edison’s daughter-in-law, Stefanie Haase-Fernando, 37, has been charged with fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000. The two are set to appear in court on June 2.
Warrants have been issued for Edison’s son, Anshul Edison Fernando, 39, for fraud over $5,000, and theft over $5,000.
The investigation continues and further charges are likely to be laid. Investigators believe other people may have had financial dealings with Edison, who goes by multiple aliases.
“Something of this scope would suggestion connections across the world—globally—and not just one scheme,” said Staff Sgt. Verheul. “We’re really talking about the one investment scheme that initiated this investigation, but what we’ve uncovered is that there are multiple fraud schemes.”
Verheul said areas include the U.S., European countries, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
Police ask anyone who thinks they may have been solicited for funds related to high-yield investments to contact the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234. Anyone who may have other information about this investigation is asked to contact the non-emergency number, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, www.calgarycrimestoppers.org, or by texting tttTIPS to 274637.
With files from Tony Tighe and Nancy Hixt
© 2015 Shaw Media