Two Calgary men have been arrested for allegedly fraudulent sales of RV campgrounds, cottage lots and dock space at the Sweetwater Resort at Koocanusa Lake in the East Kootenay.
Calgary Police reported on 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 of theft over $ 5,000. of $ 5,000.
McMorran was arrested without incident on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at a Calgary residence. He will then appear in court on Thursday, October 7.
Gus Kalabalikis, 53, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of theft over $ 5,000 and three counts of fraud over $ 5,000. Kalabalikis was arrested Monday, September 20 at a Calgary residence without incident, police said in a statement. He will then appear in court on Friday, September 23.
Police said it is alleged that between 2014 and 2017 McMorran fraudulently sold RV park sites as the owner and operator of Sweetwater Resort, a lakeshore land development project. 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 holds” to the complex. These transactions were invalid because the slips were submerged Crown land and could not be legally sold. In British Columbia, marina space cannot be rented or leased, not sold.
Police said as the investigation progressed, it is believed MCMORRAN acted with an associate, who was also involved in facilitating fraudulent sales of cottage lots while acting as a sales manager. of the complex between 2013 and 2016.
“An investigation was launched by the Calgary Police Economic Crimes Unit when clients contacted police with suspicion about the legitimacy of transactions after communication between them and the owner became infrequent,” said Calgary Police in a press release.
“Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the sales contracts for the RV park site transactions were invalid.”
Police added that the East Kootenay Regional District has ordered the Sweetwater RV park to be closed.
In total, it is alleged that McMorran fraudulently obtained more than $ 2 million from several victims who thought they were purchasing legitimate land and dock space.
“Before purchasing any land or lot, it is always recommended that you research the business beforehand and have a lawyer monitor contracts and business information to ensure that the transaction and business are legitimate, ”said Staff Sergeant Geoff Gawlinski of the Calgary Police Service. Economic crimes. Unity. “Finding out that you are 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 properly investigate. “
The Calgary Police Service thanked the Sparwood and Fernie RCMP for helping us move this investigation forward.