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Baysville husband, wife arrested at airportBaysville husband, wife arrested at airport
Couple fled charges related to Ponzi scheme, fraud in 2010
By Roland Cilliers
TORONTO – A Lake of Bays couple accused of bilking investors of millions of dollars are now in police custody.
The husband and wife, 44-year-old Dianna Rose Smirnow and 56-year-old Nicholas Smirnow, were arrested at Pearson International Airport on Friday.
The Muskoka Crime Unit along with the Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police made the arrests, the culmination of an investigation that kicked off in 2008.
Police accused Dianna Smirnow of defrauding the Ministry of Communications and Social Services over the course of a year but could never make an arrest, as she left the country years ago.
A warrant was issued for her arrest when she left the country in 2010.
Nicholas Smirnow had a number of outstanding warrants stemming from a structured money scheme that garnered national attention. The OPP Anti Rackets Branch worked with the Muskoka Crime Unit to gather information for the charges.
In 2010 it was reported that Nicholas Smirnow, who was also a resident of Florida, was facing a total of 10 fraud and conspiracy charges in the United States.
The United States Attorney General’s office alleges the accused, through the online company Pathway-2-Prosperity, also known as the P2P Network, promised annual rates of return in some cases as high as 17,000 per cent with little risk.
While some people made money, most investors lost everything, according to a press release. The alleged value of the Ponzi scheme was $70 million.
In 2010, police said they believed the pair had fled to the Phillipines. At the time, then Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson Insp. David Ross said the charges would remain in place until the couple returned.
“They stay forever until you are either apprehended or you are deceased,” Ross said roughly four years ago.
On Friday, Dec. 12, police learned the couple was returning to the country and met them at the airport.
Dianna Smirnow will now face charges in relation to social service fraud over $5,000 and making a false statement in writing. Nicholas Smirnow faces two counts of fraud over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime.
Dianna Smirnow will appear in Bracebridge court on Dec. 22. Nicholas Smirnow will appear in the same courthouse on Jan. 5.