Edmonton Duo Face 80 Charges in $7.8M International Ponzi Scheme

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Two individuals are confronting over 80 criminal charges tied to an alleged Ponzi scheme amounting to $7.8 million, ensnaring victims from Edmonton, British Columbia, the United States, and Australia. The Edmonton Police Service disclosed that investigations were initiated in early 2020, involving a man and a woman who were operating under the corporate identity Group Venture Inc.

The elaborate scheme, active from October 2008 until December 2020, predominantly targeted the unsuspecting populace of Edmonton and Kelowna. However, it has been noted that several victims were also located in Nevada and Australia.

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It appears that the duo was marketing securities in the form of promissory notes, ensuring investors a fixed return on their contributions. This was frequently portrayed as a lucrative opportunity to profit from real estate flips.

Self-identified as Curtis Gordon Quigley and Kathleen Treadgold, both 56, the pair willingly surrendered to the Edmonton Police Service last Wednesday. In a joint action, the authorities have charged them with 80 cases of fraud exceeding $5,000, and one count of laundering the proceeds generated from these criminal activities.

Investigators indicate that there may still be undiscovered victims yet to step forward. Detective Linda Herczeg from the EPS Financial Crimes Section explained the deceitful operation to reporters. She said, “The theme was that you were purchasing homes as an investment. These homes would then be resold, and you would earn interest from the sale, given you invested your money.”

Over time, she pointed out the key flaw in the operation: “The returns eventually ceased.”

Detective Herczeg elaborated how, in Ponzi schemes, it’s typically only the original investors who receive their money back, creating a false sense of security and encouraging future investments.

To protect potential investors from being victimized, the police advise that valid investment opportunities should always provide formal verification, such as a real estate registration and title for property investments. These documentation proofs, like land titles, are generally available online.

Furthermore, it is recommended to perform due diligence on any potential investment by scrutinizing the company’s status with the Better Business Bureau, carrying out a corporate search to confirm its legal certification, and conducting a Google search for possible conflicting information about the entity. When dealing in securities, it would be wise to consult with the Alberta Securities Commission—or the relevant provincial regulatory body—to verify the legality of the seller’s operations.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.