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2 Calgary men charged in alleged multimillion-dollar fraud scheme at southeast B.C. resort


Two Calgary men are facing charges, accused of fraudulently selling RV camping lots, cabin lots and dock spaces at a resort in southeast B.C. in a scheme police say brought in more than $2 million from multiple victims.

Between 2014 and 2017, police allege one of the men improperly sold RV park sites as the owner of Sweetwater Resort, a land development project on the shores of Lake Koocanusa in B.C. The resort was also known by other names, including Sweetwater RV Park and Sweetwater at Lake Koocanusa.

Some of the people who bought into the resort contacted Calgary police when communication with the owner became infrequent and an investigation was launched by the economic crimes unit.

"After a thorough investigation, it was discovered that the sales contracts from the RV park site transactions were invalid," police said in a release.

"As a result, Sweetwater RV Park was ordered to close by the Regional District Office of East Kootenay."

Police also allege the owner sold dock slips — spaces to moor a boat — which were invalid because slips are considered submerged Crown land, and so can only be leased or rented, not sold.

Police estimate there are "at least 85 victims or more," said Staff Sgt. Geoff Gawlinski of the Calgary Police Service economic crimes unit, adding some victims lost "tens of thousands of dollars, close to $100,000" in savings each.

Craig Douglas McMorran, 61, of Calgary, has been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, one count of money laundering and one count of theft over $5,000.

"In total, it is alleged that McMorran fraudulently obtained more than $2 million from multiple victims who believed they were purchasing legitimate lot and dock spaces," said police.

He was arrested Sept. 16 without incident at a residence in Calgary and is scheduled to appear in court next Oct. 7.

"As the investigation progressed, it is believed that McMorran acted with an associate, who also participated in facilitating fraudulent sales of cabin lots while acting as the sales manager for the resort between 2013 and 2016," police said.

Gus Kalabalikis, 53, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of theft over $5,000 and three counts of fraud over $5,000.

Kalabalikis was arrested on Monday at a residence in Calgary without incident and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

"Before buying any land or lot packages, it is always recommended to research the company beforehand and to have a lawyer overlook contracts and company information to ensure the transaction and business are legitimate," said Gawlinski.

"Finding out you are a victim of fraud can be devastating and can have lasting emotional and financial impacts. We encourage anyone who believes they are a victim of any fraud to report it to police so we can investigate appropriately." Top Stories

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