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e-3060 (Economy and finance)

E-petition
Initiated by Rose Ray from Oro-Medonte, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons

Whereas:
  • From 2009 to 2018, Fortress Real Developments and its affiliate brokerages raised $920 million in Syndicated Mortgage Investments (SMIs). The SMIs were promoted to Canadians as safe, 8% interest, secured principal, and registered eligible;
  • The Financial Services Commission of Ontario received numerous complaints from investors and warnings from industry experts regarding the high risk of Fortress SMIs since 2011, but did not act until February 2018;
  • In April 2018, the RCMP raided Fortress and its affiliate brokerages revealing to investors that 50% of their principal was deducted towards commissions, fees and their own interest. Property values were grossly inflated, resulting in ineligibility for registered funds;
  • Thousands of hardworking Canadians, including seniors, have lost their life savings. The victims and families are suffering from extreme financial and emotional hardship due to the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been confirmed as a loss to the investors; and
  • The RCMP has yet to lay charges on what is believed to be the largest mortgage fraud in Canadian history.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to:
1. support the launch of an independent public forensic inquiry to investigate the financial records and assets of Fortress and principals, its brokerages, executives and trustees, including Sorrenti Law;
2. ensure that the RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Teams has the resources and funds to continue their investigation;
3. review the Standing Up for White Collar Crime Act, and increase the current punishment and imprisonment if the fraud exceeds one million dollars; and
4. mandate communication across all financial Canadian regulators to reduce loopholes and protect investors.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): JOËL LIGHTBOUND, M.P.

The Government of Canada takes very seriously its responsibilities for ensuring the security and integrity of our financial system. A comprehensive Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing (AML/ATF) Regime exists at the federal level to detect, deter, investigate, and prosecute financial crimes, such as fraud, money laundering and the financing of organized crime and terrorist activities.

Our government continues to work closely with other federal departments, as well as provincial, territorial and municipal governments, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations, to prevent and combat financial crimes in Canada and to offer support to those affected by these crimes.

While the Government cannot comment on any potential ongoing investigations, please be assured that our Government is fully committed to protecting the safety and security of Canadians by tackling financial crime in Canada.  Since 2019, our Government has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to anti-money laundering and financial crime efforts, including to strengthen legislation and invest in law enforcement and technology to support investigations.

We are pleased to note that the RCMP was provided funds toward the creation of new Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Teams, to conduct money laundering and proceeds of crime investigations. These have already been stood up in Alberta, Ontario, BC and Quebec. Separate to this recent initiative, Integrated Market Enforcement Teams are mandated to investigate serious Criminal Code capital market fraud offences that are of regional or national significance and threaten investor confidence or economic stability in Canada. We are pleased to note the establishment of both the Public Safety Financial Crime Coordination Centre (FC3) and CBSA Trade Fraud and Trade-based Money Laundering Centre of Expertise to further address these crimes.

This stands in sharp contrast to the previous Harper Conservatives who cut half a billion dollars from the RCMP’s budget and oversaw the closure of all 13 Integrated Proceeds of Crime Units dedicated to addressing such financial crimes.

Through Budget 2021 we are proposing additional investments to permit FINTRAC to build its expertise related to virtual currency and supervise evolving threats. To better catch those who launder money, we are proposing a publicly accessible corporate beneficial ownership registry, while amendments to the Income Tax Act will be sought to streamline the revocation process of charitable status for organizations listed as a terrorist entity to prevent abuse. We hope to be able to count on the member’s support for these important initiatives.

Open for signature
December 21, 2020, at 11:10 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 19, 2021, at 11:10 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Doug Shipley (Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte)
April 13, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00770)
Government response tabled
May 27, 2021
Photo - Doug Shipley
Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte
Conservative Caucus
Ontario
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