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Thieves Sell Couple’s Home for $1.7 Million in Toronto Canada Through Title Fraud

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Couple's Home in Toronto Canada Sold Without Their Knowledge By Thieves

A couple from Toronto, Canada, recently discovered that thieves sold their home for $1.7 million while the couple was in the UK. Authorities say this type of theft is not common, but there has been a noticeable increase in comparable occurrences in the country’s most populous metropolis.

Early this year, Toronto police said they needed the public’s assistance in apprehending two suspects involved in a complex fraud scheme.

According to the BBC, the suspects used forged identities to pose as city property owners. They sold the house and handed the keys to the unwitting new owners. The true owners of the house had been out of the country on business since January 2022.

After noting that their mortgage payments had vanished from their bank accounts, the out-of-town couple discovered that their home had been sold without their knowledge.

The incident piqued the interest of many Canadians, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver, where real estate is considered a national obsession due to its high cost – the average home costs more than $ 1 million, and homes are scarce.

Similar claims from other Toronto property owners have emerged, and police say these previously uncommon examples of property title fraud appear to be on the rise.

These situations are “certainly unique to this moment in time,” according to Trevor Koot, CEO of the British Columbia Real Estate Association and a nearly 20-year industry veteran.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he stated, referring to the complexity employed to carry out these crimes.

 

What exactly is title fraud? How much has it increased in Toronto, Canada?

Mortgage fraud and title fraud are common schemes involving home or property ownership.

According to Brian King of King Advisory International Group, a Toronto-based organization investigating white-collar crime, mortgage fraud is more widespread.

Why does it take 30 years in Canada to buy a house?

It is committed when a fraudster uses forged identifying documents to get a second mortgage on a home in Canada they do not own, usually after the first mortgage has been paid off in full or almost so.

On the other hand, title fraud entails tenants impersonating the owner of a vacant home and selling it to serious buyers. This results in the property’s total title transfer.

If the home has title insurance, the true owner and buyer in Canada can usually obtain most of their money back. The insurance covers legal expenditures paid during the procedure and aids in re-establishing ownership.

Mr. King stated that he had seen increased mortgage and title fraud frequency since 2020.

According to him, his firm has experienced a “rash” of title fraud in recent years. In almost all cases, the homeowners lived elsewhere when fraudsters took over their property, in nations such as the United States and China.

Mr. King mentioned a couple from Toronto who relocated to the UK for work in 2018. Their house in Canada was later sold from beneath them in 2022. It was sold for C$1.7 million and had been completely refurbished when they discovered it had been stolen in June. As of February, the couple was still working on getting their home’s title returned.

According to John Rider, vice-president, between the 1960s and 2019, Chicago Title Insurance Company’s Canada branch saw only two occurrences of fraud – mortgage and title.

They are currently dealing with scores of cases, including at least five examples of title fraud, all in the Greater Toronto Area, which covers the city and adjacent towns.

Comparable incidents of title fraud have appeared in the province of British Columbia, which is home to the city of Vancouver, where the typical home costs C$1.1 million, albeit on a less frequent basis.

The BC Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) reported two attempts at title fraud since 2020, just one of which was successful. The public corporation noted that it is only aware of one previous incidence in 2019 and two in 2008 and 2009.

It claims that these fraud cases are extremely unusual, even though the LTSA processes up to one million land title applications annually.

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Why are there more reports of title fraud?

Scientists are baffled as to why there has been such an increase in reported cases, notably in Toronto.

Mr. King believes that virtual real estate transactions during the pandemic may have made it more difficult to detect phony identification documents. He also mentioned that the epidemic had compelled some people to stay away from their homes for prolonged periods because to travel restrictions.

Others have noted the increasing sophistication of the criminals, some of whom have been tied to organized crime and appear to have a thorough understanding of the real estate sector in Canada.

According to Mr. Rider, the phony Identities used in these transactions frequently appear authentic, and offenders would hire professional actors to pose as homeowners and carry out the operation.

“IDs are so easily falsified now that they can’t be relied on to close a $3 million transaction,” Mr. Rider added.

There is also the financial aspect of these crimes. Real estate in Toronto, Canada, has appreciated dramatically over the last two decades, with the average property costing C$198,150 in 1996. It was C$1.18m last year.

“It makes logical that there is a lot of emphases on where real estate is very valuable,” said Ron Usher, general counsel for the Society of Notaries Public in British Columbia, Canada.

However, Mr. Usher noted that little is known about these alleged incidents of title fraud, which are frequently complex.

“These are not easy crimes to commit, and they are frequently caught and prevented.”

He and others have asked for a national review to discover the underlying causes and whether more can be done to protect Canadian homeowners.

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

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LONDON ROTHSCHILD — his family announced that Jacob Rothschild, 87, a financier and philanthropist from the legendary Rothschild banking line, died on Monday.

Jacob began his career in 1963 at the family bank, NM Rothschild & Sons, before branching out to develop enterprises and charity organisations. His family paid tribute to him in a statement.

“Our father Jacob was a towering presence in many people’s lives, a superbly accomplished financier, a champion of the arts and culture, a devoted public servant, a passionate supporter of charitable causes in Israel and Jewish culture, a keen environmentalist and much-loved friend, father and grandfather,” a statement from his family stated.

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

“He will be buried in accordance with Jewish custom in a small family ceremony, and there will be a memorial at a later date to celebrate his life,” they continued, without revealing any other information.

According to last year’s Sunday Times Rich List, the Rothschild family is worth approximately 825 million pounds ($1 billion). It donates millions of pounds to Jewish interests, education, and art.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was one of the political and cultural heavyweights who paid tribute to Rothschild. Blair lauded him as a “towering figure in Britain’s Jewish community” and praised his efforts to promote Middle East peace.

Jacob was born in Berkshire, west of London. He attended Eton College and studied history at Christ Church College, Oxford University.

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Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

After leaving the Rothschild Bank, he took over Rothschild Investment Trust, now RIT Capital Partners. He served as chairman of the business, one of the largest investment trusts on the London Stock Exchange, until 2019.

He also co-founded the then-J Rothschild Assurance Group, now St James’s Place, with Mark Weinberg in 1980 and served as deputy chairman of what was then BSkyB Television, among other duties.

In the cultural sector, he served as chairman of the National Gallery of London’s board of trustees and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

rothschild

Jacob Rothschild, Financier From A Family Banking Dynasty, Dies At 87

The Rothschild Foundation, which manages the family’s former home, the country house Waddesdon Manor, announced that Jacob Rothschild’s daughter Hannah will follow him as chair.

Jacob was married to Serena for over 50 years until she died in 2019. They have four children (Hannah, Beth, Emily, and Nat) and several grandchildren.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

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Sony said on Tuesday that it will lose 900 jobs, or 8% of PlayStation’s global workforce.

According to a PlayStation news statement, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s layoffs will affect all regions, with its in-house London studio, which is responsible for the competitive singing video game “Singstar,” closing entirely.

“These are incredibly talented people who have contributed to our success, and we are very grateful,” said Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead.”

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

According to Bloomberg, the personnel cut comes after the business lowered its sales expectations for the year and Naomi Matsuouka, Sony’s senior vice president, stated that the PlayStation 5 console was nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Ryan stated in September that he would resign as president of Sony Group Corporation in March. Hiroki Totoki, the COO and CFO, will serve as interim CEO.

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

The incoming CEO will face an entire tech sector in turmoil, with industry giants laying off 5,500 staff in the first two weeks of 2024 alone.

Specifically, the video gaming industry has seen employment losses from 2023 into this year, with Epic Games slashing 830 workers last September and Tencent’s Riot Games laying off 11% of its workforce in January.

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

In his email to employees, Ryan echoed the leadership of those other game firms, saying, “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the company’s long-term sustainability and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

Sony Group Corporation’s (SONY) stock declined less than 1% after the announcement on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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NASCAR Teams Have Hired A Top Antitrust Attorney In Their Revenue Dispute. Here’s What It Means

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The NASCAR season has begun, with 38 races to select another stock car racing champion in the 76th season of the main motorsports series in the United States.

There is a significant issue for NASCAR and its teams: negotiations on a new revenue-sharing plan have stalled. In mid-February, officials from five teams notified The Associated Press that they had recruited renowned antitrust sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler as an adviser.

The action was a power play by the 15 teams with the 36 charters that ensured entry into every race, sending a message that they would not be intimidated in negotiations. Here’s what you need to know about this off-track battle worth millions:

Charters are comparable to NASCAR franchises, but the series can withdraw them at any time. The current market rate determines their worth, but the specifics are not publicised. Live Fast Motorsports reportedly paid $40 million for a charter that Spire Motorsports bought last year, a significant increase from the $6 million Spire Motorsports paid in 2018 when it became the first team to purchase a charter from another team.

NASCAR chose which teams were granted charters in 2016. Four charters have yet to be offered for sale and are being held by NASCAR for use if a fourth manufacturer joins the Cup Series.

The present pact expires after the season, and teams have been negotiating with NASCAR for two years to get a better deal, including making the charters permanent.

NASCAR stated it needed to finish a new media rights package first, and a new $7.7 billion broadcast rights agreement was revealed in December. NASCAR’s economic offer to the teams arrived shortly after that.

The five-person negotiation committee for the race teams told the Associated Press that NASCAR was clear: “We’ve been informed, ‘This is all there is; there is no flexibility.’ “That is not a negotiation,” said Curtis Polk, co-owner of 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.

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NASCAR’s Financial Health

NASCAR’s stability has ebbed and flowed for years, with significant emphasis on empty seats in the bleachers and viewing figures from season to season. The series has been through it all, and the TV contract is deemed significant.

According to a recent S&P Global Ratings report, NASCAR will continue to see strong growth in live attendance, sponsorship, and advertising-related revenue this year, and the new rights deal “provides good revenue visibility” until 2031.

The report also raised its credit rating for NASCAR, highlighting the series’ capacity to pay down debt while increasing revenue. This year, NASCAR’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation are expected to climb by 6% to 8%, according to Standard & Poor’s.

S&P also anticipates a positive cash flow of $135 million to $145 million, which could be lowered to $85 million following infrastructure repairs and utilised to reduce debt further.

Polk stated that the data demonstrates that NASCAR is financially solid and has had minimal difficulty repaying the almost $1.5 billion borrowed in 2019 to take its racetracks private.

“The rating agencies have upped NASCAR to a better rating based on the health of NASCAR,” Polk said in a statement. “NASCAR’s debt is now reduced to around $400 million. They repaid $1 billion in debt in less than five years.

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WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

The teams seek more than simply a bigger financial stake.

In addition to a rise in the proportion of the television rights deal, the teams want the charters to be permanent, as they are in other leagues. With so many of NASCAR’s top team owners in their 70s (Roger Penske turned 87 this week), they want their investments to be legacies for their families.

NASCAR has declined to contemplate making the charters permanent.

The teams also want to have a say in governance and foster a collaborative environment to generate new revenue prospects.

WHAT CAN TEAMS DO?
The teams are unaffiliated with NASCAR, which regulates the 38 races each year and provides payouts and cash from licencing, merchandise, and other sources. It also owns several top-tier tracks.

The teams wish to refrain from launching their breakaway series, noting CART’s downfall when Tony George removed the Indianapolis 500 and founded a competing league. Two open-wheel racing series could not be sustained. Thus, they merged in 2008 to form IndyCar. However, the damage had already been done: NASCAR bypassed what was formerly the leading US motorsports series during the split.

Currently, the teams do not intend to promote a race outside of NASCAR’s supervision. They want to strike a deal.

Teams could legally go on strike and cease turning up at the track, but it makes no financial sense, and NASCAR would most likely fill a field with teams from a stock car league it does not currently own.

Who is Jeffrey Kessler?
The attorney specialises in sports labour and antitrust conflicts. In 2021, he helped obtain a 9-0 victory at the United States Supreme Court in NCAA v. Alston, a significant issue on athlete remuneration. He also led the United States women’s soccer team in its winning fight for equal pay and lawsuits against the NBA and NFL’s current free agent rules.

Although employing Kessler could imply that the teams are considering litigation, the negotiating representatives said the attorney was hired to advise them during discussions.

The Race Team Alliance convened at Daytona International Speedway; NASCAR failed to attend, and the teams say NASCAR is no longer negotiating with them collectively. Instead, they feel NASCAR is attempting to communicate with teams individually to create division among what is now a unified front.

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WHAT IF A DEAL IS NOT ACHIEVED?

NASCAR could completely overhaul the eligibility system and develop its income distribution guidelines. NASCAR does not have a collective bargaining agreement for teams, and the RTA, founded to fight this struggle, is not a union.

The teams might file an antitrust lawsuit challenging NASCAR’s market dominance, arguing that NASCAR operates stock car racing as a monopoly.

But NASCAR has already won legal battles, including a 2009 case in which Kentucky Speedway failed to demonstrate that its refusal to host a Cup Series race constituted an illegal monopoly.

SOURCE – (AP)

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