WINNIPEG -- After a Winnipeg widow in her 80s fell victim to financial abuse from a Manitoba mortgage salesperson, allegedly totaling more than $500,000, the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) is warning seniors to watch for red flags.

MSC said Bret Allan Dobbin, 57, has been charged in provincial court and is facing more than 50 counts in violation of The Securities Act and The Mortgage Brokers Act.

The charges allege Dobbin was involved in 18 different transactions with a Winnipeg widow in her 80s. The transactions allegedly total $534,237 between April 2016 and June 2017.

“Our team was alerted about transactions involving Dobbin and a Winnipeg woman,” Jason Roy, senior MSC investigator, said in a news release. “Following an investigation, MSC staff concluded that Dobbin had violated both Acts.”

MSC said Dobbin was fired by Edward Jones Investments in 2002 in relation to theft from another "elderly widowed client."

The commission said Dobbin was banned for 10 years by the MSC from registration under The Securities Act as a part of a settlement in 2006. MSC said he is currently not registered.

Dobbin, who had been working at a Winnipeg mortgage broker since 2011, has had his mortgage salesperson registration suspended.

The charges against Dobbin include acting as a mortgage broker and salesperson on his own behalf and failing to pay his registered broker.

MSC said the public needs to watch for the red flags of senior financial abuse:

  • Social isolation or withdrawal;
  • Dependence on another for financial support;
  • Substance abuse or misuse;
  • Depression or mental illness;
  • Sudden change in appearance such as poor hygiene or weight loss;
  • Discrepancy between standard of living and financial assets; and
  • An individual who is overly protective or controlling of the older person.

Anyone who believes they are being targeted by any kind of investment fraud, including financial abuse, is asked to contact the MSC's anti-fraud line at 1.855.FRAUD-MB (1.855.372.8362) or visit MSC online.