Following a referral from the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC), the Alberta RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team (IMET) investigated fraud allegations against a husband and wife operating several companies identified as Vesta Capcorp Inc. and Vesta Equity Partners in Calgary. What was discovered to be a Ponzi scheme resulted in the loss of millions of dollars for various investors between Feb. 2014 and Sept. 2016.
Following an extensive investigation, Brian Kitts, 65, and Shannon Kitts, 55, of Summerland, British Columbia have each been charged with the following:
- Fraud over $5,000 contrary to Section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code;
- Theft over $5,000 contrary to Section 334 of the Criminal Code; and
- Laundering the Proceeds of Crime contrary to Section 462.31 of the Criminal Code.
Brian and Shannon Kitts are scheduled to appear in Calgary Provincial Court on Apr. 12, 2021.
The Alberta RCMP was able to successfully carry out this investigation in collaboration with the Forensic Accounting Management Group, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada, Public Prosecution Service of Canada and Specialized Prosecutions of the Province of Alberta, the ASC, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"Unfortunately, the victims sustained substantial losses as a result of their investment within the Ponzi scheme they believed to be legitimate. The RCMP IMET urges investors to remain vigilant with their investment by performing due diligence."
- Inspector Charlene O'Neill, Officer in Charge of the Alberta RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team.
The IMET is a specialized unit under the RCMP Federal Policing program that detects, investigates, and deters market fraud. The IMET unit works closely with the ASC to protect investors and further enhance confidence in the Canada's capital markets.
With March being Fraud Prevention Month, Albertans are reminded to remain aware of potential scams, conduct their due diligence with investments, and report suspected criminal acts to law enforcement. If you have information with respects to a market-related fraud, you are asked to contact IMET at CalgaryIMET-EIPMFCalgary@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.