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Reverse Mortgage Professional’s Action Helps Lead To Suspected Fraudster’s Arrest

A suspected fraudster nearly brought financial ruin to an elderly resident of London, Ontario in Canada, but an area reverse mortgage professional’s quick thinking is credited with leading to the suspect’s arrest, according to a news release from the London Police Service.

Stemming from suspected fraudulent activity beginning in the summer of 2021, 28-year old Austin Acheson was arrested earlier this month for suspected fraud.

“Investigators learned an elderly victim was approached by a door-to-door salesperson and signed contracts to have various products installed inside the victim’s residence in the west end of the city,” the police service said. “The items, including attic insulation, a water filter and water softener were sold through a signed contract to which the victim agreed to pay monthly bills for a lengthy period.”

Following the installation, liens were taken out against the home, known as “Notices of Security Interest” (NOSIs), without the homeowner’s knowledge or permission.

The suspect then returned to the home months later, when he “advised the victim that he could assist with dealing with the aforementioned contracts and debts that were owed,” police said.

“The suspect provided advice in relation to how the victim could acquire a private mortgage to pay for the previous home renovations. The suspect filled out a mortgage application, which was signed by the victim, resulting in the issuance of a high-interest private mortgage in the name of the victim.”

The scam allegedly continued further, with the suspect reportedly convincing the homeowner that additional renovations were needed. Police say “it was believed that the total amounts paid exceeded the cost of the work completed.” This is when the reverse mortgage product became entangled with the purported scheme.

“Shortly after the payment was made relating to the renovations, the suspect male convinced the victim to apply for a reverse mortgage to pay back the private loan originally obtained,” according to police. “The reverse mortgage salesperson became concerned and contacted the London Police Service to investigate.”

Investigators determined the man was also being sought for “a similar mortgage-related fraud in Cambridge, Ontario,” and proceeded to charge Acheson with two counts each of fraud over $5,000 and fraud under $5,000. Acheson was arrested in early February and is scheduled for a court appearance on March 11.

Other victims may have been impacted, police said.

“Investigators believe that the accused may have approached others in a similar manner, and that there may be other victims,” according to the statement. “[I]nvestigators are asking additional victims or anyone else with information to come forward.”

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