May 17, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KELOWNA - A Calgary man who has been sanctioned by Alberta’s real estate regulators and faces more than $100,000 in fines for selling properties without a licence has moved to Kelowna.
A spokesperson for the Real Estate Council of Alberta says Derek Ryan Johnson has been effectively preying on customers in Calgary for at least three years.
“(Clients) think they’re buying a home… they’re handing over thousands in deposit funds to people who say they can help… and the money is gone and there is no recourse,” council spokesperson Natalie Scollard says. “It’s trying to attract people who are already financially vulnerable and feel they have no other way out.”
Scollard says the Alberta courts have forced Johnson and his associates to cease and desist trading in real estate, he owes more than $100,000 in penalties and was found in civil contempt of court for refusing to comply with orders. The most recent penalty for selling without a licence was issued just last month in April.
She says he has recently left Alberta and now lives in Kelowna.
His next legal proceeding in Alberta is in June when, according to Scollard, he will be sentenced.
“It is possible that he will go to jail,” she says. “We’ve asked for two years.”
B.C.’s Financial Institutions Commission, which regulates real estate transactions in this province, issued a warning on its website warning that canadapropertyguys.com, commissionfreesystems.com and ispeedprivatelending.com “charge opportunistic fees and commissions, and expose consumers to other forms of misconduct.”
Scollard and the Alberta council say Johnson is behind all of them.
“The injunctions we have (against him) named some websites and ordered they be shut down,” she says. “The last time I checked the ones that were specifically named are down.”
Johnson was also accused of making threats to some council members that earned him a Court of Queen’s Bench Restraining Order in March 2015.
An email sent to Johnson’s personal account received no reply.
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