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Suspended real estate broker fighting search warrants

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A Winnipeg real estate broker whose licence was recently suspended by the Manitoba Securities Commission is preparing to go toe-to-toe with federal justice officials in connection with an RCMP probe into his conduct.

David Douglas has filed notice with the Court of Queen's Bench that he's seeking to quash two search warrants RCMP executed in March, claiming many items police seized are protected by lawyer-client privilege.

In the application, Douglas states the fact RCMP now have these materials has severely compromised his fair-trial rights at any hearing that may occur.

Douglas has not been charged with a crime, and allegations made by the securities commission and RCMP have neither been tested nor proven in court.

News broke in late March that the securities commission was suspending Douglas's licence pending a hearing into alleged violations under the Real Estate Brokers Act (REBA) and the Mortgage Brokers Act (MBA).

The commission has said the charges relate to real estate and mortgage transactions involving three Winnipeg properties, homes on Ash Street, Eugenie Street and Ellismere Avenue.

The commission is seeking to find out if it's in the public interest to cancel Douglas's registration under the REBA, as well as impose further sanctions under the MBA. It's also asking the same questions regarding registration of his company, Homelife Village Realty, and Geraldine Douglas, the company's authorized official — Douglas's mother — who is alleged to have failed to supervise business transactions and conduct

"I am unable to fully or properly defend myself from the action of the Manitoba Securities Commission as many of my documents and all of my digital files are in the possession of the RCMP," Douglas states in a sworn affidavit.

Court records filed by Douglas show RCMP seized computer equipment, paper documentation and other items during a March 4 search of Douglas's home on Old River Road in the RM of St. Clements. They also searched another residence the same day in the 1700 block of Henderson Highway and seized documents, the records show.

RCMP sought search warrants in late February alleging they may find evidence on which to base criminal charges of theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000 against Douglas.

Court documents obtained by the Free Press disclose the allegations date back to 2010 and involve victims including the Royal Bank of Canada, Sun Mortgage Corporation and citizens.

RCMP state they started an investigation into Douglas last May after a woman came forward alleging she and her husband had been defrauded after investing $450,000 with Douglas, according to a sworn police affidavit, also known as an Information to Obtain (ITO).

James.turner@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 11:37 AM CDT: Amends and clarifies aims of the commission

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