PwC finds that Greg Martel operated as a Ponzi scheme

PwC finds that Greg Martel operated as a Ponzi scheme

Over one year since the investigation into Greg Martel began, the firm leading the investigation into the flow of money for his business has determined Martel was running a Ponzi scheme.

CHEK News first learned that Martel’s company, known as My Mortgage Auction (MMAC) and Shop your Own Mortgage, was put into receivership and PricewaterhouseCoopers had taken control of the assets in May 2023 when real estate agent Rick Horsland emailed in.

“I was referred by my chiropractor of all things, and I was told of these high returns on these bridge loans,” said Horsland.

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After referring on to his friends and client, Horsland decided to look into one of the Shawnigan Lake construction projects. He quickly found out, they didn’t exist.

Horsland was the original whistleblower, coming to CHEK News one year ago, but only as a last resort.

“I did make a couple calls to BCFSA (BC Financial Services Authority), the regulatory watchdog, and I was disappointed with their kind of lack of care, they kind of pawned me off and they didn’t follow up with me,” said Horsland.

Horsland later clarified that he called both BCFSA and BCSC in the spring of 2023 “and got nowhere.”

READ PREVIOUS: Victoria mortgage company put in receivership amid flurry of lawsuits

Since then, PwC has been investigating the flow of cash in Martel’s business, and filed paperwork on May 21 that says a funds flow analysis indicates Martel was operating a Ponzi scheme.

“PwC has conducted a funds flow analysis (the “FFA”) on MMAC during its 5 years of operation and has concluded that investor funds loaned to MMAC for the purpose of funding bridge loans (to be made by MMAC to borrowers) were not used to fund bridge loans, but instead were used for other purposes,” the document filed by PwC says.

“The purposes included repaying other investors, funding related companies and funding significant operating expenses. The flow of funds indicates that MMAC operated a Ponzi scheme.”

A Ponzi scheme uses investor money to pay earlier investors with the false sense that it is offering higher-than-normal returns.

“In a Ponzi scam, an investor buys into a scheme offering higher-than-normal returns,” the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says. “The scammer then pays early investors with money from new investors. Investors believe their investment is returning high profits, but the scheme will eventually collapse.

A Ponzi scheme differs from a pyramid scheme in that pyramid schemes require investors to recruit other investors as well, however, both are illegal in Canada under the Criminal Code’s fraud laws.

RCMP says no criminal charges have been laid yet but after being found guilty of contempt of court for not helping in his civil insolvency proceedings in September of 2023, a warrant has been issued for Martel’s arrest both in Canada and the United States.

When the issue first came to light, Martel travelled to Thailand then was deported from Thailand and went to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the documents say. His current whereabouts are unknown. CHEK News was unable to reach Martel.

“We gotta hold him accountable so this doesn’t happen again. That’s the big takeaway from this is that hopefully there is a lesson here and the watchdogs will be more vigilant when stuff like this happens and people bring it to their attention, they take it more seriously, because a lot of people lost a lot of money,” said Horsland.

The BC Securities Commission says it’s investigating any misconduct relating to trading in securities which could lead to criminal charges, saying it may take several years . They didn’t respond to CHEK News’ question as to if they take any responsibility for ignoring people’s complaints.

The latest report also shines a light on how Martel was using the money he was earning through My Mortgage Auction.

PwC says over the five years it operated, Martel spent at minimum $3.1 million on vehicles, $1.1 million for rent on multiple homes, $261,000 on restaurant meals and events, $200,000 on watches and jewelry, $150,000 on recreation, $59,000 on fitness and sports, and $50,000 on wine and vineyard events.

Additionally, the report shows that Martel has declared $9.3 million in secured loans and $293.6 million in unsecured loans, however, PwC has only been able to prove $7.9 million in secured loans.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.


This story originally quoted Horsland as saying ‘BCSC’ instead of ‘BCFSA’. He later clarified that he sent complaints in to both agencies.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham
Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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