Kingston Police have provided an update for those victims involved in the criminal court proceedings against Next Level Investments.
In 2017, Kingston Police commenced an investigation that was focused on a Kingston-based business known as Next Level Investments (Next Level Capital Group), which operated from 2016 to 2017. As the investigation proceeded, a series of Criminal Code Search Warrants were executed and several persons were arrested and charged with fraud related offences. As court proceedings were nearing a close at the beginning of 2019, police publicly sought victim impact statements. Then, later in 2019 as proceeds of crime were ordered forfeited at the sentencing of individuals involved in the scheme and held by the Restraint and Forfeiture Office at Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General, Kingston Police circulated information to ensure local victims were aware of how to file for restitution.
Now, on Friday, Apr. 30, 2021, Kingston Police are relaying information to those locally who filed for restitution. According to police, on Monday, Apr. 26, 2021, the court that sentenced individuals involved in the Next Level scheme during criminal proceedings made a follow-up forfeiture order.
“As a result of that fresh forfeiture order, about $505,000 has been added to the Ministry fund out of which compensation to victims will be made in accordance with the terms of the below notice,” Kingston Police said in an update to their ‘Next Level Investments Restitution’ page on their website, “below notice” referring to this notice from November 2019.
Police went on to outline that the compensation process has been held up by the forfeiture proceedings that ended on Monday, Apr. 26, 2021, by pandemic safety measures that prevented access to hard copies of some victims’ claims, and by deficiencies in the documentation submitted by claimants.
“Now that the first two problems have been resolved, the Ministry is working on verifying individual victim claims,” police said.
Because the criminal proceedings recovered less money in total than was lost by victims of the Next Level scheme, all compensation to victims will be on a pro rata basis: Every claimant will get only a percentage of the funds that they can prove they lost.
“Since the percentage of compensation will be partly a function of how many claims can be verified, that percentage cannot be calculated (and the cheques sent out) until the Ministry verifies all claims that fairly can be verified,” Kingston Police said.
“That verification process is, at present, hampered by the poor quality of some of the claims which must be gone through individually. This will take time.”
Police conveyed that “the Ministry understands the victims’ frustrations with delays but requests their patience in letting the process continue.”