The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) says it has carried out six search warrants in the Greater Toronto Area related to an investigation into syndicated mortgage frauds.
RCMP sergeant Penny Hermann says the searches were carried out Friday morning by its Integrated Market Enforcement Team, but would not provide further details or confirm which companies were targeted.
However, media reports say RCMP officers searched the head office of real estate firm Fortress Real Developments Inc. on Friday. Fortress could not be immediately reached for comment.
In February, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) issued $1.1 million in fines against four parties that were involved with syndicated mortgages for real estate development projects in which Fortress was a developer or development consultant.
And in March, Canadian securities regulators in proposed regulatory changes to address the associated risks of investing in syndicated mortgages — private mortgages that are sold to a group of investors to finance real estate developments.
The Canadian Securities Administrators proposed several changes, including heightened disclosure from issuers of syndicated mortgages. Some companies or individuals offering these investment opportunities may advertise these products as fully secured or guaranteed as high return.