Police have alleged that between February 2012 and August of this year a man pretending to be a prominent Swiss investment broker frequented the Yorkville area and convinced victims to invest in his company, or allow him to invest on their behalf.
Albert Allan Rosenberg of Toronto faces four counts of fraud over $5,000. He appeared in a Toronto courtroom Friday and was denied bail because police said he was a flight risk.
Police allege the so-called billionaire is known to international authorities, and his arrest came as a result of a tip from his wife.
"Within three weeks of meeting her he told her he loved her and [to] move in with him, sell all of your properties, let's live together in my penthouse in Yorkville," said Det.-Const. Roxanne Doyle, of the Toronto police's fraud division.
Rosenberg met the wealthy European woman online and she moved to Canada to be with him. The woman became suspicious when he started borrowing money from her and the landlord arrived one day looking for unpaid rent.
The CBC's Marivel Taruc said Rosenberg spent four years in prison during the 1980s after defrauding galleries and investors of approximately $500,000.
Local art dealer Phillip Gevik told CBC News Rosenberg more recently asked him if he could take a $10,000 painting to his penthouse to make a more informed decision about a prospective purchase.
"He said ‘I will make a final decision if I try it in my apartment,’" Grevik said. "We carried the painting from the gallery to the apartment."
Grevik said when Rosenberg didn't return to pay for the piece he went back to retrieve it.
"I've never had a deal like this. It's true it was very strange but I'm lucky I get my painting back," he said.
Police said there may be more victims and anyone with information is asked to contact investigators.
Rosenberg is scheduled to appear in court again on Friday.