Local real estate agent Victoria Mallahan and Lynden developer Ross Paterson are facing two counts each of first degree theft in what the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s office alleges was a plot to defraud four Canadian real estate investors out of $350,000.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Both are now free on $10,000 bail after having been arrested just after Christmas on charges filed December 26 by deputy prosecutor Dona Bracke. Both have pled not guilty.
Bracke alleged that three Canadian investors paid Paterson and Mallahan $350,000 for real estate that was never delivered to them in transactions that took place in September and December of 2007.
Mallahan contacted the sheriff’s office in January of 2008 to report having been threatened “by a group of east Indian males” over their having lost money in an investment company called the James Hislop Group allegedly recommended to them by Paterson.
Mallahan, according to court documents, said that Paterson had formed a limited liability corporation called CanUSA for which she served as real estate consultant and for which she collected money, including a check for $100,300 from the Canadian investors collected in September of 2007. Bracke said that a search warrant served on Paterson’s bank records “clearly linked him to possession and handling of this money.”
A preliminary trial date for both has been set on March 30 in Whatcom County Superior Court.