Toronto police have arrested four people in what they are calling a “sophisticated and complex” mortgage fraud investigation involving high-end properties in the city.

The police service’s financial crimes unit says the investigation, launched in the spring of 2013, was dubbed Project Bridle Path – the same name as a tony area of the city filled with multi-million-dollar mansions.

According to a police news release issued Tuesday, the alleged fraudsters secured mortgages on properties that were misrepresented to the lenders and never registered.

“Individuals and companies who were introduced as owners of the properties were not in fact the real owners,” police said.

False title insurance certificates and property insurance certificates were shown to lenders to make the transactions appear legitimate before money was released.

The total value of the fraud is estimated at $17 million.

Three people have been charged with fraud over $5,000, money laundering, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, accessory after the fact to an indictable offence:

  • Arash Missaghi, 48, of Richmond Hill
  • Grant Erlick, 45, of Toronto
  • Masumeh Shaer-Valaie, 48, of Richmond Hill

Bob Bahram Aziz Beiki, 53, of Toronto faces one count of forgery.

They are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.