Alberta man charged in alleged $10M Ponzi scheme involving light towers

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The RCMP worked closely with the U.S. Secret Service and FINTRAC on what one official said may be “the largest fraud file we’ve seen in central Alberta.”

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The website for Red Deer-based Silvertip Energy lists Joshua James Tenhove, 45, as president. Police seized documents related to investments and electronics from a home north of Red Deer on Dec. 19.

RED DEER, Alta. — A central Alberta man has been charged in an alleged $10-million Ponzi scheme involving the purchase, sale and rental of mobile light towers to customers in Canada and the United States.

RCMP say a 20-month investigation looked into allegations that the owner of Red Deer-based Silvertip Energy Inc., sold or rented towers with the same serial number to multiple investors and had also sold or rented units that were never manufactured.

The alleged victims included five individual investors and four or more corporations in Canada and the U.S.

Police seized documents related to investments and electronics from a home north of Red Deer on Dec. 19.

Mounties say their Red Deer financial crimes unit worked closely with the United States Secret Service and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, throughout the investigation.

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Joshua James Tenhove, who is 45, is to appear in a Red Deer courtroom on Jan. 15 on charges that include fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering the proceeds of crime and one of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.

Police said the five individual investors lost an estimated $4 million, while the corporations lost more than $6 million.

"I believe this may be the largest fraud file we’ve seen in central Alberta," financial crime unit member Const. William Lewadniuk said in a release.

"The Red Deer RCMP’s cross-border collaboration with the U.S. Secret Service and our ongoing partnership with FINTRAC were vital to its successful conclusion."

The website for Red Deer-based Silvertip Energy lists Tenhove as president and displays solar-powered mobile lighting systems.

FINTRAC is Canada’s financial intelligence unit. Its mandate is to facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under its control.

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