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Calgary’s Varun Aurora pleads guilty in $23-million fraud

Calgary’s Varun Aurora pleads guilty in $23-million fraud

varunBACK in January 2014, the RCMP Calgary Financial Integrity had announced that they had charged Varun (aka Vinny) Aurora and David Nelson Humeniuk after completing an investigation into a commercial real estate venture, operated by Concrete Equities Inc., which raised money from Canadian investors to buy undeveloped beach properties in Senora, Mexico, called the El Golfo de Santa Clara Project.

The two were alleged to have provided false information to investors, diverted funds to other business ventures outside of the investment agreement and stole investors funds between June 4, 2007 and May 13, 2009.

Aurora and Humeniuk were charged with three counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of theft over $5,000. Humeniuk also faced other charges.

Police said that the loss to investors as a result of this fraud and theft exceeded $23 million.

Police announced at the time that Humeniuk had been arrested and issued a Canada-wide warrant for Aurora and released a photo of his face.

LAST week, Varun “Vinny” Aurora pleaded guilty in provincial court to fraud over $5,000 in the case.

The fraud victimized 1,200 investors and one of them was Aurora’s own father who lost the most money – $901,000.

According to the Crown, Concrete Equities greatly inflated the purchase price of the El Golfo project and “purchased it for less and just pocketed the money,” according to Calgary Herald.

Some of the investors’ money was moved into other investments and the supposed ringleader, David Nelson Humeniuk, allegedly pocketed $1 million, according to the Crown.  His trial is scheduled for November 2017.

According to an agreed statement of facts, while Aurora’s role was more supportive than leading, he signed off on offering memos and was “willfully blind” to the scam. Also, “to the extent that money which was raised for the El Golfo project was being transferred or lent to other CEI businesses, Mr. Aurora was an officer and should have known about those transactions.”

“He was brought in and used because he was naive,” said the Crown.

Aurora will pay $1 million in restitution.

Both the Crown and defence agreed that Aurora should get two years’ conditional penalty that would include a curfew but not prison time.

Aurora’s lawyer said his client has no previous criminal record and has a good standing in the community.

Provincial Judge Joanne Durant will hand down a sentence on Wednesday.

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