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Suspect in months-long mortgage fraud charged, London police say

Austin Acheson of London, Ont. is seen in this image supplied by police. (Source: London Police Service) Austin Acheson of London, Ont. is seen in this image supplied by police. (Source: London Police Service)
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A London man is facing multiple fraud charges after he convinced an elderly homeowner to agree to multiple home renovations, and then proceeded to take out a lien and a new mortgage application in the victim’s name.

According to the London Police Service, in August of 2023 members of the Financial Crime Unit were made aware of an alleged fraud that had taken place between July and December of 2021.

Police said an elderly victim was approached by a door-to-door salesperson and signed contracts to have various products installed inside the victim’s residence in the city’s west end. The items included attic insulation, a water filter and water softener, and were sold through a signed contract. The victim agreed to pay the monthly bills for a “lengthy period.”

After the products were installed however, police said liens, also known as a “notice of security interest,” were secured against the victim’s property without the victim’s knowledge.

In March of 2022, the suspect male then attended the victim’s address and advised the victim he could help with dealing with the outstanding contracts and debts. The suspect provided the victim with advice on how the victim could acquire a private mortgage to pay for the previous home renovations.

Police said the suspect filled out a mortgage application which was then signed by the victim. As a result, a high-interest private mortgage was taken out in the victim’s name.

After the mortgage was obtained, the suspect convinced the victim that he could assist with additional renovations to the home at significant cost to the victim. Police said it is believed that the total amounts paid by the victim exceeded the cost of the completed work.

Following a payment to help pay for the renovations, the suspect male then convinced the victim to apply for a reverse mortgage to pay back the private loan originally obtained.

The reverse mortgage salesperson became concerned and contacted London police.

Through the course of the investigation, detectives learned that the same suspect was involved in a similar mortgage-related fraud in Cambridge, Ont.

As a result of the investigation, Austin Acheson, 28, of London, has been charged with the following offences:

  • Two (2) counts of fraud over $5,000
  • Two (2) counts of fraud under $5,000

The accused was arrested earlier this month, and is expected to appear in London court on March 11, 2024 in relation to the charges.

Investigators believe that the accused may have approached others in a similar manner, and that there may be additional victims. Investigators are asking additional victims or anyone else with information to come forward.

The accused has been known to use the names “Victor,” “Victor Rodrigues,” “Cliff,” “Clifford” and “Don.”

Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of this type of fraud or who has dealt with the accused is asked to file an online report, or call London police at 519-661-5670. People can also call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 (toll-free).

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