LETHBRIDGE – A Lethbridge woman was found guilty Friday in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud.
Adina Harms Barbour forged fake documents and cheques, using the names of friends and family, to acquire mortgages from CIBC. In all, she received nine mortgages valued at more than $2 million dollars.
Barbour alleged that her ex-husband, Alan Barbour, could have pulled off the scheme, but the presiding judge, Justice R.A. Jerke, ruled that out. While the evidence was admittedly circumstantial, Jerke said it led to only one logical conclusion – that Adina Harms Barbour perpetrated the fraud.
“You never know what’s going to happen, and I never pretend to know what’s going to happen,” Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston said. “But, obviously, the Crown is satisfied with the decision.”
Barbour used the names of her friends and family, including her parents, to apply for mortgages through CIBC. Those named on the deeds had no idea they held mortgages until contacted by other parties.
One person listed on a mortgage learned of the fraud and alerted police. An investigation led to the discovery that names, salaries, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts and more had been tampered with on documents used to secure the loans. The Crown said steps were taken to ensure those named did not know of their involvement.
Johnston said the Crown will be pursuing a lengthy jail sentence, “because of the nature of the offence and the risk to both the public at large – because of what happens when mortgages are inflated like this – and, just because of the sheer quantum of the amount as well.”
Barbour represented herself in court and became very emotional after the verdict was announced.
Johnston said no one is entirely sure of the end goal of the scheme since it was detected early in the process.
Barbour told court she has retained council for sentencing. A pre-sentence report will be prepared. Barbour will appear in court to discuss a sentencing date on Jan. 11.