Controversial Langley condo developer fights extradition on U.S. fraud charge

Controversial Langley condo developer fights extradition on U.S. fraud charge

Mark Chandler’s lawyer argued before the B.C. Court of Appeal Friday to keep him in Canada.

The fate of a Langley condo developer charged with fraud in California is in the hands of the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Three judges of the province’s top court heard arguments Friday over whether Mark Chandler should be extradited to face a charge following an FBI investigation of a failed land development deal in Los Angeles.

Between 2009 and 2011, Chandler was in L.A. trying to develop a 21-storey condo tower on Hill Street.

He was charged with fraud and arrested in Canada in 2015, but has been fighting extradition ever since.

Before the hearing began, Chandler’s lawyer Michael Bolton had called for an adjournment, due to an accusation by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate for B.C. (OSRE) that Chandler’s company had mishandled $10 million from would-be customers.

Chandler’s company allegedly received the $10 million in deposits from purchasers, and then failed to place them in a trust, as required by B.C. law.

The OSRE announced an upcoming hearing on the matter, and Chandler is expected to appear as a witness, Bolton said.

However, after a very brief break, the three-judge Court of Appeal panel decided it was no reason to delay the extradition proceedings.

During Friday’s hearing, Bolton argued that the original extradition judge made several errors in her ruling.

He argued that the judge should have allowed into evidence various affidavits and other documents presented by Chandler, which could have swayed the decision.

He was also, as during the first extradition hearing, highly critical of the quality of the evidence against his client.

“The record of the case is fundamentally unreliable,” said Bolton.

However, the judges did not always agree with Bolton’s interpretation of evidence.

One allegation in the U.S. case is that Chandler showed a fake cheque and loan agreement with a forged signature to various investors in the failed L.A. condo project.

Bolton argued that it made no sense. What benefit would Chandler receive from pretending to have money?

“It makes a lot of sense,” said Justice Susan Griffin. “That’s a classic con, isn’t it?”

Griffin said she wasn’t saying it was a con, but it was typical to try to convince people that investing is safe, by claiming other smart people are investing.

John Gibb-Carsley, a lawyer with the federal Justice Department, again argued that there was more than sufficient evidence available to suggest Chandler should go on trial. He emphasized that weighing the evidence isn’t the point of an extradition hearing.

Inferences drawn from the evidence were not relevant, Gibb-Carsley said.

“It is not a trial,” Gibb-Carsley said. “Guilt and innocence are not at stake.”

Were Chandler’s partners and investors simply unlucky to lose money, or were they the victim of fraud?

“These are issues for trial, not for extradition,” said Gibb-Carsley.

He briefly reviewed key pieces of evidence alleged by the FBI.

They include the fake cheque and loan agreement, assurances to two alleged victims that their investments were safe, and claims that Chandler had money tied up in court in Canada, when in fact he was being sued for millions in Canada.

There was also a money trail that showed money borrowed for the L.A. project was transferred to a trust controlled by Chandler. Days later, that trust paid for a $90,000 Hawaiian vacation.

The Appeal Court judges will rule on the extradition at a future date.

Chandler remains free on bail.

Chandler is best known in Langley for his central role in the numbered company that developed the Murrayville House condo project. The 91-unit building was to have been finished in 2016, but was not completed until 2018.

After multiple lawsuits by creditors were filed, the project was placed in receivership, and a court-appointed firm finally began selling the units last summer.

An RCMP investigation was launched into Murrayville House, but no charges have been laid.

It’s unknown when the hearing for the OSRE will be scheduled.

“We will be contesting all the allegations,” said J.P. Dhaliwal, the CFO for the Chandler Group of Companies.

He said they have provided evidence to demonstrate that all funds were accounted for, he said.

A report last year by the receiver, the Bowra Group, showed the project owed $62 million to creditors. A 2018 appraisal suggested it was worth about $38 million.

Just Posted

The planned site of the new development is highlighted in red, with the existing Tall Timbers complex to the north and 56th Avenue to the south. (Township of Langley)
Neighbours need input on planned development near Tall Timbers: Township council

A housing development at 56th Avenue and 240th Street is on pause for now

Electric vehicles have a few different types of plugs but makers such as Tesla provide adapters so they can use public charging stations. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)
LETTER: Electric vehicle infrastructure is coming

More charging stations are coming as part of the switch away from fossil fuels, letter writer says

Langley School District superintendent Gord Stewart provides a COVID-19 update during a Tuesday, June 15, 2021 board meeting. (screen grab)
GRAPH: Langley School District provides COVID-19 update, records 0 cases in June

During Tuesday’s board meeting the superintendent provided a look at the data

Undated Google maps image of Aldergrove Community Secondary School (file)
Aldergrove gets first electric school buses in Langley

Two battery electric buses are being purchased this year

Aldergrove Canada Day parade took place in 2020 with COVID protocols in place. (Aldergrove Star files)
Canada Day parade in Aldergrove set to go ahead

Aldergrove Star mistakenly reported that Township’s virtual July 1 celebrations included parade

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read