Thursday, June 20, 2024
June 20, 2024

Money laundering alleged in suit

The B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office has filed a lawsuit to seize a Salt Spring property alleged to be acquired through the proceeds of crime and to have been used to launder money.

According to court documents, a waterfront property at 391 Baker Rd. was used by Alicia Lee, Geordie (AKA Skye) Lee and Vincent Manalastas as part of an international stock fraud scheme amounting to $200 million. The forfeiture suit was filed at B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria on Dec. 11.

The lawsuit states the property is registered to Beresford Estates Inc., which is owned or operated by the three defendants. Manalastas, who is believed to live in the Philippines, is listed as Beresford’s sole director. The Lees are a married couple who have been living at the Baker Road home, according to the court claim.

“By converting the proceeds of the unlawful activity into property, the property was used by the defendants as an instrument of unlawful activity, namely the laundering of the proceeds of crime,” the lawsuit claims.

If proven, the property could therefore be forfeited to the provincial government. BC Assessment lists the current value at $2.14 million.

The notice of claim alleges that Beresford Estates Inc. is tied into the Silverton Platform, a scheme to disguise ownership of publicly traded companies and circumvent securities laws. An investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 determined the Silverton Platform was responsible for $165 million USD in unlawful proceeds accrued between June 2015 and September 2018.

The SEC investigation found that Beresford was used in British Columbia to receive and distribute proceeds of the securities fraud. RCMP investigating the case in Canada subsequently found the Lees had contracted renovations to the home to Burrard Green City Builders amounting to $526,000, which were paid for through a series of wire transfers. The money transferred was the proceeds of the unlawful activity, according to the investigation.

The defendants had not responded to the civil lawsuit as of Dec. 17. Allegations within the suit have not been proven in court.

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