Assets of ex-Canuck prospect frozen in $2.8 million fraud case

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The lawsuit states that Prab Rai, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, presented himself as a successful and wealthy businessman.

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A British Columbia judge has frozen the assets of a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick who is being sued over allegations he defrauded a real estate agent of more than $2.8 million.

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Harpreet Singh Khela, the real estate agent, says Prab Rai, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, presented himself as a successful and wealthy businessman, claiming to have major ties to prominent local and international businessmen and retired hockey players. players.

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Canucks prospect Prab Rai in training camp in 2009.
Canucks prospect Prab Rai in training camp in 2009. Photo by Jason Payne /PROVINCE

He says Rai provided him with fake emails, financial statements, agreements and documents from these prominent businessmen and retired professional hockey players in order to fraudulently induce him to transfer more than 2.8 million dollars for real estate developments and other investments.

The alleged schemes included a property under development in San Diego, a Tim Hortons franchise and the purchase of the Sutton Hotel in Vancouver.

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Khela claims Rai convinced him to put up $2.4 million as a down payment to buy the hotel for $200 million.

Another alleged scheme involved Rai telling Khela that a prominent former Canucks player was interested in purchasing commercial real estate located in Alberta in which Khela owned shares.

Khela claims that from 2017 until around October 2020, Rai told her that they had made significant profits from their alleged businesses and then covered up the fraud by telling her a false story that the profits had were frozen by the US government and were not available. .

He claimed that in October 2020, Khela learned that Rai had been kidnapped on his way to the airport, beaten and stripped of his hard drive, which contained all of his bank account information, and that all of his money had disappeared.

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Following the “fantastic” kidnapping story, Khela says he began investigating his business dealings with Rai and uncovered the alleged fraud.

“Prab Rai’s stories in Khela about the profits made by their business ventures were a lie. There are no profits and there were no IRS investigations or frozen accounts,” the lawsuit states.

“Prab Rai told these false stories in an effort to prevent Khela from taking legal action to trace and recover the funds he advanced to Prab Rai.”

Rai, a junior hockey star from Surrey, signed a contract with the Canucks in 2010 but his hockey career was cut short due to injuries he sustained in a car accident, according to media reports.

In his response filed in court, Rai said that over many years, Khela had actively tried to ingratiate himself with Rai and become involved or associated with Rai’s legitimate business activities.

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“Plaintiff’s efforts were motivated by his considerable financial aspirations, his lack of independent financial resources and his indebtedness to third parties,” the response states.

“When Mr. Rai sought to limit his involvement with the plaintiff, the plaintiff, in an effort to warn his own creditors, began to make a series of sweeping and unsubstantiated allegations against Mr. Rai and, even more so, the immediate family members of Mr. Rai. .”

Lawyers representing Rai later withdrew from the case. Rai, who told the judge in the assets case that he owed his lawyers $80,000, could not be reached for comment.

Prab Rai hits hard against Lance Bouma of the Calgary Flames during a preseason game at Rogers Arena in 2010.
Prab Rai hits hard against Lance Bouma of the Calgary Flames during a preseason game at Rogers Arena in 2010. Photo by Steve Bosch /PNG

After the complaint was filed, Khela went to court and requested an order freezing Rai’s assets.

In her ruling on the case, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick noted that Rai’s only substantial assets are two luxury Lamborghini vehicles worth a combined $1.2 million. of dollars.

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It concluded that the legal test had been made to order the freezing of the assets and found that there was a real risk of dissipation of these assets. The judge ordered Rai to provide a list of his property and not dispose of it.

Several members of Rai’s family, including his brother, who is a former RCMP officer, are also named defendants and have filed documents denying involvement in fraudulent activity.

An amended lawsuit was filed in September 2021. The judge’s decision was delivered orally in October 2021, with a written copy of that decision attached to the court file.

A 15-day trial is expected to begin in January 2024.

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