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Guilty plea entered in Yarmouth's so-called mortage fraud case

Monday, March 4th 2013

A former real estate broker has been sentenced to a year of probation for his role in a real estate scam that involved over-valuing a slew of local properties to obtain mortgages.
62 year old Raymond Michael Nelson was also fined eight thousand dollars in Yarmouth provincial court.
Nelson pleaded guilty to a single count of passing off forged documents as genuine.
A sworn information from June 8, 2011, with 93 fraud charges was withdrawn yesterday before the start of a preliminary hearing and replaced with a 10-count information.
Nelson then pleaded guilty to one of the counts while nine others were withdrawn by the Crown. 
The preliminary hearing did not proceed.
The facts of the case were told to Judge Jim Burrill by Crown attorney Alonzo Wright.
Between 2006 and 2008, Nelson, a licensed real estate and mortgage broker, collected documents from clients and submitted them to possible lenders.
Wright said the documents were submitted in support or mortgage applications and would eventually be relied upon by lenders in determining whether to approve prospective borrowers.
Copies of rental agreements and leases from Nelson’s clients were also used, and some of them showed rents that were determined upon investigation to be inflated.
Wright said that Nelson was aware that these rents appeared to be inflated and chose not to make further inquiries.
Nelson received mortgage commissions on successful applications. 
Defence lawyer Elizabeth Buckle said Nelson relied on figures that were provided to him by others and, due to his knowledge of the industry, he was aware that the numbers were suspicious but chose not to make further inquiries.
In 2008, Nelson was fined $40,000 and agreed never to reapply for a broker’s licence after he was convicted of several offences at a tribunal held by the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission.
At the time the RCMP concluded its investigation, it estimated the total value of the fraud exceeded $6 million. 
Ten remaining cases are still working their way through the court system.

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