Updated: Sep 17, 2022
In light of charges being laid against the founders of mortgage investment firm Fortress Real Developments Inc. it's a good time to recount how we got here and how much damage might have been avoided if only the regulator had acted.
By Bryan Bakker
Click above to watch Krista explain, in her own words, some of what happened during her time at FSCO.
(Review a history of the Fortress story here)
In 2014, years before the majority of these alleged frauds took place, Krista Zingel was starting her job as a Financial Services Commission of Ontario Compliance Officer. After years serving Ontarians as a private sector mortgage broker, she was ready for a change and wanted to give back to the industry.
Having been marketed too by the likes of Fortress Real Developments Inc., to sell their Syndicated Mortgage Investments (SMIs), Krista wasn't too surprised to see SMI investor complaints pouring in. What did surprise her was the volume of complaints, the amounts that were being lost and that they had been pouring in for sometime already.
She resolved to get to the bottom of it.
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Many investors, now believe, there was corruption within the commission which prevented action. Krista lays out specifically what she tried to do that was inexplicably stopped.
In this upcoming documentary, produced by Blue Food Films, entitled Capitalisms; Fortress, we recount Krista's story at length. How she immediately noticed hundreds of SMI complaints coming across her desk. How, upon investigation, she found clear breaches of law and more, discovered that there had been multiple complaints closed, with no findings, despite similar evidence.
When Krista pushed these complaints up the chain, they were inexplicably stopped at her supervisor's desk. As she persisted her co-workers warned her that management would retaliate and sure enough they did.
Despite these hardships she managed to get a team meeting set with a superintendent. Afterward, her supervisor continuously moved the meeting to times when she was off work. Eventually she had to crash her own meeting so she could present her findings. The meeting went well and the superintendent seemed engaged. Krista thought she had finally got the information into the right ear.
Unfortunately, and inexplicably, he never took her calls or returned her emails again.
Through a never ending onslaught of managerial sabotage, Krista was put upon to handle accounts in French, when they knew she didn't know French, given complex files to present with no time to prepare, she was driven to the breaking point.
In 2015, in the shadow of threats from supervisors inside FSCO, and strangers seeking her out around her home, she decided she had no choice but to leave the commission.
Through a bitter grievance proceeding she left her short career as a FSCO Compliance Officer and returned to life as a Mortgage Broker.
Capitalisms Documentary Series
Capitalism is a powerful engine for prosperity, but like any engine, it needs to be monitored and regulated to make sure it runs sustainably. Since capitalism is the economic system in which we live and democracy is the political system in which we decide, the only way to monitor and maintain that engine is to spotlight its excesses so that everyone can see and feel the pain for themselves. This series aims to do that.