Victims conned out of $4M by a tuxedo

"He's never been known to have a legitimate job," Thomas said. "For the last 20 years he has been living off the proceeds of various victims."

The Toronto Star
March 9, 2006

Victims conned out of $4M by a tuxedo
Fraud artist went to charity events. Posed as wealthy adviser, police say.
Tracy Huffman

He dropped names like Donald Trump and arrived by helicopter to see his clients.

He was a con man who over two decades took $4 million from the elderly and those impressed with his apparent lifestyle.

Police are on the hunt for the man who told 20 victims he was a financial adviser who would invest their money in property developments.

"For some it was their life's savings," Det. Rob Thomas said at a news conference at police headquarters yesterday.

He was secretive about his business, never providing his victims with an office address or phone number. All communication was conducted through a post office box or pager.

"The victims describe (him) as a very slick, very articulate, very charismatic individual," Thomas said. "He's essentially the type of person who lives out of the back seat of his car, yet able to throw a tuxedo on and attend a charitable ball if necessary in order to con his victims."

The suspect has not renewed his driver's licence since 1979 and has never filed taxes, said Thomas of the fraud squad. Police have been unable to find a paper trail and have no information regarding his assets.

Police allege the man — who claimed to be a world traveller — would befriend his victims at charity events, through friends and family and at a restaurant where he was a regular. He would impress his victims with his luxury cars and would gain their trust by joining them for golf or at other social outings.

"In committing his crimes, (he) posed as a successful, independently wealthy financial adviser and was able to con his victims into investing in several supposed land development ventures throughout the lower Ontario area, all with the promise of lucrative financial returns," Thomas said.

Victims were told the investment would not begin to produce financial gains for about five years, by which time they would have lost contact with him or he would have taken money from another victim to provide a small payout, police allege.

"He's never been known to have a legitimate job," Thomas said. "For the last 20 years he has been living off the proceeds of various victims."

Thomas Mark Kirschner, 56, is wanted by police in Toronto, Guelph and York Region. The Tillsonburg native faces 39 fraud-related charges and is described as 6-foot-1, about 240 pounds with black curly hair.

His last known address is on Roehampton Ave. in the Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. area. He was driving a black Mercedes-Benz 500 series leased in the name of one of his victims. Police do not believe Kirschner used an alias.

In an unrelated $1.3 million fraud investigation, Toronto police arrested the suspect's brother, Edward, three weeks ago. It is alleged he defrauded members of a synagogue by running a business that leased dairy cattle to farmers. Edward Kirschner is charged with six fraud-related offences.

Police are also seeking other alleged victims.

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