Lawyer spots possible investment fraud scheme

A lawyer from Vancouver is questioning the validity of a seminar designed to teach Canadians how to invest in American real estate after a personal testimonial about its effectiveness proved false.

Over a five-year investigation, Ron Usher found a number of inconsistences in the advertisements for the three-day training workshop, hosted by a real estate organization, which costs $7,000 to attend.Usher reviewed years of advertising, which includes claims of deals made and personal testimonials about the successes of former students.

Usher tried to corroborate some of the information by digging into American property records and court filings, and shared some of his research with The Province, a publication in B.C.

When presented with inconsistencies in the advertising, the company’s founder Marco Kozlowski admitted to making mistakes, but said the program has been helping investors.

The seminars are hosted in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary as well. Some of the ads feature a cheque for $150,329.92; in one case it featured the text: “150K+ profit first deal!”

According to Usher’s research into different ads over the years, the photos and names of at least three different people appear with the same cheque, each claiming to benefit from the real estate training: a woman from Mississauga, Ont., a man from Gatineau, Que, and a woman from Ottawa.

However in 2014, when Usher reached out to one of these success stories, he found out that neither Kozlowski nor any of the other former students had anything to do with the deal, according to The Province’s report.

“I am not familiar with (the company) or Marco Kozlowski and they were not involved in the purchase or sale of this property,” one woman was quoted as saying.

“I do not know who they are affiliated with, but am unaware of any other way they could have been involved with this transaction.

”Kozlowski dismissed the accusation that his seminars are fraudulent, saying the company simply made an internal error and blamed his marketing team for the mix-ups.

“I’m human — and I make mistakes — as does my team — please talk to my students that actually do the work, and they will attest to the strength of what I do,” he is quoted as saying in The Province.

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