Police have laid new fraud-related charges against a Niagara-on-the-lake man who presented himself as a financing expert, but entrepreneurs said his loan offers left them in the lurch.
Peter Corbière, a financier at the centre of a 2018 CBC News investigation, was arrested on Thursday by Niagara police.
Niagara police's Central Fraud Unit began an investigation in December 2017, and a "lengthy investigation" led to police laying two fraud-related charges, spokeswoman Stephanie Sabourin said.
Corbière, 62, was charged with fraud over $5,000 and a section of a "false pretences" provision in the criminal code that refers to making a false statement in writing regarding a loan offer, according to Niagara police.
A CBC investigation in 2018 revealed at least nine business owners and entrepreneurs from across Ontario who gave Corbière tens of thousands of dollars each, based on offers to provide them loans they needed to grow their businesses. But they say the money he promised never materialized.
One of them was Ty Shattuck, a veteran local businessman who says he gave Corbière thousands of dollars to get him a $7 million loan.
Shattuck told CBC News in 2018 that Corbière kept telling him that a loan agreement was imminent, as well as the funding, but he says none ever came. Shattuck said Corbière still owed him nearly $15,000.
Shattuck heard from Niagara police on Thursday that Corbière had been arrested. He'd gone to police in December 2017 to complain.
"I was very pleased to hear it," he said. "I guess the wheels of justice sometimes move slowly."
Corbière was released on a promise to appear in court on March 18 in St. Catharines. Reached by phone Friday, Corbiere said he denies the allegations by Niagara police and OPP, but did not want to share more while the cases are before the courts.
"I deny the allegations," he said. "They're all false."
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
These are the second set of charges Corbière is facing.
He was arrested last spring and charged by the Ontario Provincial Police with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and false pretences over $5,000. He is expected in Goderich court for a judicial pretrial next week, on Feb. 19.
Corbière presented himself as a veteran business financing expert. He'd worked as a senior partner of consulting at the government bank set up to help small businesses, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and had spoken at business events in Niagara and Norfolk.
CBC's 2018 investigation showed at least nine small business owners in Ontario and the U.S., including Shattuck, had given more than $650,000 to Corbière in exchange for investment loans or deals.
In lawsuits and interviews, the business people say that the money never materialized, and most didn't get a cent of their money back.