Verico The Mortgage Station - Loansharking In Lefroy?
Loansharking is a crime that carries with it a sentence of up to five years in prison. Most associate it with street level loans and collections through violence, but as I learned through my dealings with Verico The Mortgage Station it can also happen when dealing by morgage brokers who are licensed and bound to be ethical by the provincial government.
For those not familiar with this story:
I am a journalist with 20+ years of experience in media, both in Canada and abroad. I am also the CEO of the Ontario Community Awareness Network, a benevolent not-for-profit that operates a community media channel called Five Points Media. Our purpose is to help charities and compassionate community groups through donated services.
I made the mistake of engaging the services of Verico The Mortgage Station in Lefroy to finance renovations of our new community studio. The broker, Lisa Purchase, took three times as long as was promised to close the mortgage, and she also disregarded, often with short notice, multiple dates by which she promised to have everything done.
On at least one occasion, Lisa Purchase used a delay to steer me toward a private mortgage at roughly twice the interest rate of the initial offer, which I declined. The brokers were also, in my opinion, cavalier about how their apparent negligence or incompetence was costing our benevolent community service tens of thousands of dollars.
Worst yet, I discovered that the broker I thought I could trust had arranged for a personal loan through another broker at usury levels of interest, also known as loansharking. The rate of interest was set at an illegal 10% per month or 120% per year, twice the legal limit. This crime can be an indictable offence and can carry a punishment of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
All of this and more is what I experienced after making the very expensive and harmful mistake of entrusting the brokers and management at Verico The Mortgage Station, located at 1370 Killarney Beach Rd. in Lefroy.
This ongoing story is presented in segments to enhance your access to the details:
- Email sent to Mr. W. Mark Squire Chief Operating Officer and President at Verico Financial Group Inc - Pending
- South Simcoe Police Reviewing Evidence of Loansharking - June 29, 2022
- Stonewalling and Silence - June 18, 2022
- Loansharking in Lefroy? - June 18, 2022
- Incompetence or Negligence? - June 18, 2022
Verico The Mortgage Station - Loansharking In Lefroy?
“Usury” is defined as “the illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.”
“Loansharking” is defined as “the unlawful action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.”
So, they are, by definition, the same criminal offence and synonymous of each other.
- Section 347 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets the maximum allowable annualized interest that may be charged at 60% – interest charged above that level is considered usury and is a criminal offence.
347(1) Despite any other Act of Parliament, every one who enters into an agreement or arrangement to receive interest at a criminal rate, or receives a payment or partial payment of interest at a criminal rate, is (a) guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
Verico The Mortgage Station is supposed to be a trustworthy provider of financial services, so it seems unlikely that the management and its brokers, Lisa Purchase and Renee Dadswell, were unaware that they were committing a textbook example of usury, a serious financially based crime, when they arranged for a personal loan at the loansharking interest rate of 10% per month, or 120% per year.
The rate of interest arranged between Lisa Purchase and Renee Dadswell was not only illegal, according to the Criminal Code of Canada, it was twice the legal limit. To receive the funds, as were now needed due to the mortgage not being closed by that time, I had to sign a promissory note to repay the loan and the illegal level of interest directly from the amount received from the lender for the mortgage. At that time, I did not know the laws regarding usury and the limits of interest that can be charged legally, so I agreed under what I felt was economic duress.
On May 9th I wrote to Lisa Purchase advising her that I had learned the facts about the crime of usury.
- “With regards to the private loan, the level of interest being charged, 10% per month or 120% per year, is illegal. Section 347 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets the maximum allowable annualized interest that may be charged at 60%. Interest charged above that level is considered usury and is a criminal offence. I feel that as you are a professional loans broker you should know this and as such you could be found culpable for brokering that deal, especially given the dire nature of my situation.”
Now empowered by this knowledge, Lisa Purchase could no longer feign ignorance. Regardless, neither Lisa Purchase nor Renee Dadswell nor management at Verico The Mortgage Station offered to reduce the illegal loansharking level of interest before the mortgage closed. Then, approximately a week later, they withdrew from the budget for my renovations the full amount of the loan, including the interest at 10% per month which they had no viable reason not to know was illegal.
In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove “Mens Rea”. The literal translation from Latin is "guilty mind." At this point, it is dubious to suggest that Lisa Purchase did not know that she and Renee Dadswell were committing an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Regardless, they still proceeded to take interest out of the mortgage at a rate that is illegal under the laws of usury, or loansharking. Management at Verico The Mortgage Station likely also knew, or they should have, especially as I had also provided them with the details of the apparent criminal act.
Following the eventual closing of the mortgage, six weeks late, I did not relent in advising both Lisa Purchase and David Flude that the interest rates charged represented a possible indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. I also advised the management of my intent to bring this matter before the Superior Court of Justice in order to bring forth all of the details of their questionable and apparently illegal practices in order to report them to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority.
On June 14, more than a month after I had written to Lisa Purchase advising her about the illegal nature of the rate of interest, Renee Dadswell, the broker from Verico The Mortgage Station who had loaned the money and collected the usury level of interest, suddenly auto-deposited the amount of the illegal interest directly into my account by e-transfer. She did this without notifying me of her intent, and then she sent the following email:
- “It has come to my attention that you have indicated a problem with the promissory note that was signed by you on March 30th, 2022. This was for a personal loan in the amount of $2,000.00 which you received from me. In reviewing the document, you are correct in stating that since the term stated was very short, that the amount of the administration fee would exceed the limit of an allowable cost of borrowing. As a result, I have sent an email money transfer of $200.00 to your bank account, (automatic deposit) which is the administration fee that was originally charged. This was done today at approximately 2 pm.”
In my reply of the same day, I noted:
- “It does not matter that you paid back the interest. The offence still occurred. Your action now is essentially an admission of guilt and is no different than a burglar offering to return what they stole in exchange for not being charged with a criminal offence . . . You have tried to do the right thing by sending back the interest on the loan. However, let’s be honest, this was not done out of the goodness of your heart.”
The amount of the interest I paid was not life-altering, but for someone else, especially a young family seeking to buy their first house, such a practice of covert whitecollar loansharking by the brokers at Verico The Mortgage Station could cause them to lose more than they can afford. It is no less a crime than if you went to a bank and the manager declined your application for a very important loan, but then offered you private financing through an illegal usury level of interest that you had to secure with your house.
My concern as a journalist is how many other times have the brokers at Verico The Mortgage Station abused their clients in this way for personal profit? If somebody was desperate to borrow $100,000.00 for an emergency, at this rate of interest they would be paying $10,000.00 a month without ever touching the principal. There is a reason these laws are in place, to protect the public from unfettered greed, and we will be ensuring that the Financial Service Regulatory Authority reviews the evidence accordingly.
Also, during these days of aggressive real estate buying, how many individuals and families have lost out on opportunities due to the level of apparent incompetence or negligence demonstrated by the brokers at Verico The Mortgage Station, which was acknowledged by broker Lisa Purchase to be “unacceptable”.
Not everybody has experience or a desire to battle for their rights in court, and few will be tenacious enough to take on big corporations. It is our hope that a criminal investigation into allegations of usury and a professional audit of the handling of my mortgage will reveal the truth regarding how many people have been victimized in this manner by the brokers of Verico The Mortgage Station
Tens of thousands of homes are now being built and sold in Simcoe County and adjacent areas. A spotlight needs to be focused on the seemingly illegal and negligent practices of provincially licensed brokerages like Verico The Mortgage Station. These mandated private businesses cannot be permitted to knowingly and openly break the law with apparent impunity. Our intent is to expose the privilege that has protected such profit-driven parasites that feed off of average citizens and families who struggle to make ends meet.
Only The Guilty Hide:
This clock shows how long it has been since this article was first published late in the morning on June 18, 2022. Since that date, our claims and allegations have been read by thousands of people as our various social media accounts and the shares and comments of others have directed readers to our website. Regardless, the management and brokers of Verico The Mortgage Station have done NOTHING to silence our story or refute or allegations.
While the guilty hide in shadow, people of good conscience will raise the light to reveal the truth.
My name is printed clearly on the bottom of every page of this article.
Verico The Mortgage Station asserts sales of $5 million a year, so if what we are reporting here is not 100% accurate and fully backed with evidence, they would have retained legal counsel to seek an injunction, or to threaten to sue us for defamation, or to take some form of quasi-legal action to protect the reputation of their business. However, they have not done so, and have in fact done nothing to even try to legitimize their actions that were in truth criminal. Now the South Simcoe Police are reviewing the hundreds of pages of emails and other documents that show the truth about how the brokers of Verico The Mortgage Station committed the crime of usury, or loansharking, by charging a level of interest at an annual rate of 120%, which is twice the legally permitted limit.
Apparently, the brokers and management of Verico The Mortgage Station believe they can simply ignore the crime they committed and the apparent negligence or incompetence that caused a benevolent not-for-profit to lose thousands of dollars. However, if that is true, they have not considered search engines and the interest that is already being shown in this article by some of Canada's larger mainstream media outlets. Today, most news stories are being broken by small independent media sources.
This article is a personal story about what happened to me when I made the mistake of refinancing the studio and production facilities of our benevolent not-for-profit community channel through Verico The Mortgage Station. I cannot claim to be neutral in my reporting, but all claims made in this article are backed by multiple pieces of emperical evidence. I am relying on the emails and other evidence to support my claims.
David Flude, the Principal Broker at Verico The Mortgage Station, was asked by me to contribute to this article before we released it. He chose instead to hide from his apparent negligence and the crimes of his brokers. On Friday, June 26, 2022, I sent a message to Mr. W. Mark Squire, Chief Operating Officer and President at Verico Financial Group Inc. via LinkedIn and the website at www.verico.ca. Again, we have received no reply. There is no logical reason that these professionals would evade our allegations unless they know them to be true.
Investigative Journalism by John Ironside, Producer/Publisher, Five Points Media
A division of the Ontario Community Awareness Network, a provincially registered not-for-profit community media service
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