Accused Kelowna dealer should hand over 6 properties: BC government

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An alleged member of a criminal organization should lose more than $6 million in Okanagan real estate because it was purchased with the proceeds of drug trafficking and fraud, according to a British Columbia government lawsuit.

The director of civil forfeiture filed the lawsuit Friday against Kulwant Bal of Kelowna, who the statement of claim says is “a member of a criminal organization, the full details of which are not known to the plaintiff.”

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Bal has previously been associated with people from both the Wolfpack gang alliance and the Hells Angels, Postmedia has learned.

The provincial agency wants six properties, including Bal’s residence at 6938 L&A Rd. in Vernon, his business at 3410 Highway 97 N. in Kelowna, three condominiums and one acreage, seized as proceeds of crime.

Bal is the owner of Empire Motors, a company that sells used cars.

Last summer, Bal, Gary Dhami of Kelowna and four others were charged with trafficking and conspiracy in Lloydminster, Alberta, after a lengthy interprovincial investigation led by the Alberta Police Force Response Team.

The civil lawsuit filed on February 9, which names Bal, his wife Catherine Bal, Darshan Kaur Bal and Jaskaran Singh Sidhu, refers to police searches conducted during the Alberta investigation in June 2022.

Court documents also refer to a fraud scheme in which Kulwant Bal allegedly presented false documents to Sidhu, then an employee at Valley First Credit Union in Kelowna, to obtain mortgages.

Kelowna RCMP began a fraud investigation into Sidhu in January 2021, according to the lawsuit.

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“Sidhu submitted the false documents as part of mortgage applications in the name of K. Bal or other persons. K. Bal was approved for mortgages as a result of the applications,” the director alleged, adding that Bal paid Sidhu at least $47,150 between February 14 and October 1, 2020 to secure the mortgages.

In the spring of 2021, Lloydminster RCMP began investigating a local drug trafficking ring and suspected Kulwant Bal of being a supplier to the drug line.

Undercover police officers purchased about a total of 1.75 kilograms of cocaine in Kelowna from Bal or his partner “Gary” in four transactions in late 2021 and spring 2022, according to the lawsuit.

“On or about May 6, 2022, K. Bal agreed to launder $25,000 for the UCO (undercover officer). On May 13, 2022, UCO responded to the property on Highway 97 N and exchanged $25,000 in cash for two checks totaling just over $25,000. “none of which were from K. Bal or K. Bal’s business.”

Bal was arrested on June 1, 2022.

During searches of his commercial property, police found “score sheets” documenting drug transactions, a Louis Vuitton bag containing Bal’s bank card, as well as nine envelopes labeled with different names and amounts containing a total of 15,640 Dollars. Other items seized included a fake Dr Pepper soda can with a hidden compartment and an envelope marked “2007 BMW stolen IDs.”

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Among the items found in one of his condominiums in Kelowna were “a prohibited .40 caliber firearm without the serial number, two magazines of prohibited firearms and ammunition without the serial number, more score sheets, a handgun paralytic, 111 grams of cocaine, steroids. and 40 silver ingots.

At his Vernon residence, police found $35,000 plus silver bullion, $10,300 in counterfeit U.S. currency, a handgun and a loaded magazine.

The director also wants funds held in bank accounts linked to Bal, his wife and Sidhu to be confiscated by the government.

“The defendants have used real estate and bank accounts to engage in illegal activities,” including trafficking and production of controlled substances, conspiracy, laundering the proceeds of illegal activities, manufacturing and trafficking in falsified documents. and various firearms crimes.

No defense brief has been filed. Bal was not at his business on Monday and the person who answered the phone declined to provide contact information to a Postmedia reporter.

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