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Six Ontario residents charged in alleged $200-million investment fraud

RCMP Insp. Henry Tso points to a chart as he speaks to media after a news conference in Toronto March 26, 2014. Six Ontario residents are facing charges after RCMP say thousands of investors and the Canadian government lost millions of dollars in an alleged fraudulent investment scheme.

Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Six Ontario residents are facing charges after RCMP say thousands of investors and the Canadian government lost millions of dollars in an alleged fraudulent investment scheme.

The Mounties say their investigation began in April 2012 when they received information about people involved in a possible "tax avoidance scheme."

Investigators have determined that since 2004, at least six people enticed thousands of investors to participate in an alleged illegal tax shelter.

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RCMP say investors were led to believe they could legitimately purchase a company's business losses that could then be used to lower their taxable incomes.

However, police allege many of these losses were fraudulent and resulted in substantial illegitimate income tax refund cheques being issued off the backs of taxpayers.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Stephen White says the alleged fraud scheme cost the federal government more than $200-million.

The six people have been arrested and each is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of commission of an offence for a criminal organization, Charged are Vincent (Vince) Villanti, 66, of Whitby, Shane Davidson Smith, 46, of Peterborough, David Prentice, 52, of Oakville, Ravendra (Ravi) Chaudhary, 65, of Toronto, Andrew Lloyd, 42, of Pickering and Joe Loschiavo, 49, of Toronto.

Police allege the companies used by the accused to run the scheme included Integrated Business Concepts, Synergy Group 2000, Cason Global Wealth Association and IBCA 2009.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and further arrests and charges are possible.

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