Alberta real estate scammer who was hiding in Kelowna charged locally with fraud
Derek Johnson (pictured) and Kevin Kumar have been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000. Both are wanted in Alberta for repeatedly selling real estate despite a court order.
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October 30, 2017 - 8:00 PM
KELOWNA – A Calgary man who was hiding in the Okanagan from an Alberta warrant has been charged with multiple counts of fraud in Kelowna.
In June 2016 an arrest warrant was issued for Derek Ryan Johnson, born 1970, after he failed to appear in court in Alberta. The Real Estate Council of Alberta says Johnson had already been sanctioned and fined $100,000 for selling Alberta real estate without a licence but continued with his business until moving to Kelowna.
Council spokesperson Natalie Scollard said in June 2016 the judge sentenced Johnson and his co-accused Kevin Anthony Kumar to two months in jail for civil contempt of court and issued warrants for their arrest.
Unfortunately, she said, Johnson moved to Kelowna shortly before and remained out of reach of law enforcement.
B.C.’s Financial Institutions Commission, which regulates real estate transactions in B.C., issued a warning last year that canadapropertyguys.com, commissionfreesystems.com and ispeedprivatelending.com “charge opportunistic fees and commissions, and expose consumers to other forms of misconduct.”
Scollard said Johnson was behind all three sites and spent at least three years effectively preying on customers in Calgary. Both men were eventually arrested and spent time in jail before being released and moving back to Kelowna.
“(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,” Scollard said in 2016. “It’s trying to attract people who are already financially vulnerable and feel they have no other way out.”
Although the arrest warrants for civil contempt only apply in Alberta, court records show Johnson and Kumar were both recently charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000. The offence dates are Aug. 4 and Aug. 18, 2015.
Johnson did not reply to an email seeking comment but he will appear in Kelowna Provincial Court next month.
— This story was corrected and updated with information from the Real Estate Council of Alberta at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.
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