Two Calgary men have been arrested for allegedly fraudulent sales of RV campgrounds, cabin lots and dock space at the Sweetwater Resort at Lake Koocanusa in the East Kootenay.
Calgary police reported Wednesday, September 22 that Craig Douglas McMorran, 61, of Calgary, has been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, one count of money laundering and one count theft over $5,000.
McMorran was arrested without incident on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at a residence in Calgary. He will next appear in court on Thursday, October 7.
Gus Kabalikis, 53, of Calgary, was charged with one count of theft over $5,000 and three counts of fraud over $5,000. Kalabalikis was arrested Monday, Sept. 20 at a Calgary residence without incident, police said in a news release. He will next appear in court on Friday, September 23.
Police say it is alleged that between 2014 and 2017, McMorran fraudulently sold RV park sites as the owner and operator of Sweetwater Resort, a land development project on the shores of the lake Koocanusa in British Columbia. Other names have been used for the resort, including Sweetwater RV Park and Sweetwater at Lake Koocanusa.
It is also alleged that McMorran sold mooring spaces for boats in the marina called “boat slips” to the station. These transactions were invalid because the slips were submerged on Crown land and could not be legally sold. In British Columbia, marina spaces can only be leased or leased, not sold.
Police say that as the investigation progressed, it is believed MCMORRAN acted with an associate, who was also involved in facilitating fraudulent cabin lot sales while acting as the sales manager of the complex between 2013 and 2016.
“An investigation was launched by the Calgary Police Economic Crimes Unit when customers contacted police with suspicions about the legitimacy of the transactions after communication between them and the owner became infrequent,” said Calgary police in a press release.
“After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the sales contracts for the RV park site transactions were invalid.”
Police say the East Kootenay Regional District has ordered Sweetwater RV Park closed.
In total, it is alleged that McMorran fraudulently obtained more than $2 million from several victims who thought they were buying legitimate parking and dock spaces.
“Before buying land or lots, it is always a good idea to research the business beforehand and have a lawyer monitor contracts and business information to ensure that the transaction and the business are legitimate,” says Staff Sergeant Geoff Gawlinski of the Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes. Unity. “Finding out you’ve been the victim of fraud can be devastating and have lasting emotional and financial repercussions. We encourage anyone who thinks they have been the victim of fraud to report it to the police so that we can investigate appropriately.
The Calgary Police Service thanked the Sparwood and Fernie RCMP for helping us move this investigation forward.