A federal fugitive wanted on charges he engaged in a $29 million Chicago mortgage fraud scheme was returned to the U.S. last week by Canadian authorities, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday.

Mohammad Taghie “Mike” Kakvand was being held in New York until federal authorities can return him to Chicago, Chris Kealey, of the Canada Border Services Agency told the Tribune.

Kakvand was caught when he was pulled over for speeding while driving from Toronto to Montreal, where he had an appointment under another name with immigration authorities to obtain a visa to stay in the country, reports said.

Kealey said Kakvand, who is a citizen of Iran and a resident of the United Arab Emirates, had fled to his native Iran after he was indicted in the Chicago mortgage fraud case in October 2004, reports said. There he legally changed his name to Mohammad Taghie Azadvala and entered Canada on a visitor’s visa Oct. 20, according to reports.

Nine days later, he was traveling to the immigration office to obtain a business-related visa when Ontario Provincial Police pulled him over for speeding, reports said. The police ran the name on his driver’s license and found he was wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to reports.

Kealey said Kakvand was operating a high-energy drink business in the U.S. and overseas and wanted to expand the operation in Canada, reports said.

Last month, Kakvand sought his release from custody in Canada, according to media accounts. His attorney produced a $150,000 money order for his bail, but authorities refused to accept the money, reports said.

“Our officer had reasonable grounds to believe it may have been the proceeds of a crime,” Kealey told the Tribune.


Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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