Twelve charged in $11 mil fraud case

Thorn­hill and Richmond Hill res­i­dents ar­rested

Richmond Hill Post - - News - By Jes­sica Wei

A Richmond Hill male ac­cused and a Thorn­hill male ac­cused are among 12 in­di­vid­u­als across York Re­gion and the GTA ar­rested in con­nec­tion with a se­ries of fi­nan­cial frauds that re­sulted in to­tal losses of $11.5 mil­lion.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan with an im­paired driv­ing ar­rest, ac­cord­ing to in­spec­tor Peter Cal­laghan, of the Toronto Po­lice Ser­vice (TPS) Fi­nan­cial Crimes Unit, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence held in late Septem­ber. In Au­gust 2015, a man pulled over for im­paired driv­ing was al­legedly car­ry­ing over $3,700 in Cana­dian cur­rency, over $6,800 in US cur­rency and seven credit cards, of which three bore other peo­ple’s names. The of­fi­cers then con­tacted the fi­nan­cial crimes unit, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan. The driver was later found to be one of the 12 ac­cused in the fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“None of this would have come to light if it weren’t for an im­paired driv­ing ar­rest,” said Cal­laghan.

In the end, the TPS was able to trace the funds, with the help of the RCMP’s In­te­grated Mar­ket En­force­ment Team; FINTRAC, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial in­tel­li­gence unit; and a num­ber of other law en­force­ment agen­cies in coun­tries across the world. The funds were al­legedly de­frauded largely from banks and leas­ing com­pa­nies across Canada and the U.S., but also from in­sti­tu­tions as far away as Aus­tralia, Brazil and Hong Kong.

Ac­cord­ing to Cal­laghan, the scheme in­volved an in­di­vid­ual ap­proach­ing a bank or leas­ing com­pany with a mis­lead­ing story about busi­ness ex­pan­sion, and a re­quest to bor­row money for new ma­chin­ery.

“On many oc­ca­sions, the lender did not ask for spe­cific details about the ma­chin­ery,” he said.

In the end, the ac­cused al­legedly de­frauded 16 lenders out of $9.2 mil­lion in Cana­dian cur­rency and US$2.3 mil­lion.

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