Canadians lost millions of dollars in Barrie man’s ‘Ponzi scheme,’ court hears

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Charles DeBono pleads guilty to fraud over $5,000 and laundering money; Hundreds of people bought in to the tune of $40 million to $48 million between 2012 and 2017

A Barrie man has pleaded guilty to using a local mechanic’s shop as a base to defraud investors of millions of dollars which he then used to buy luxury cars and property in Canada and the Dominican Republic.

Forensic accountants figured Canadians and investors from elsewhere lost somewhere between $23 million to $41 million, likely closer to the higher end.

When Charles DeBono, 62, was arrested in the Dominican Republic during the height of the pandemic in September 2020, he had fake identification for the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, had real estate and luxury cars and had built a resort in the Dominican Republic, a Barrie court heard on Thursday. 

During a virtual hearing from Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, DeBono pleaded…

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