Twelve charged in $11 mil fraud case
Thornhill and Richmond Hill residents arrested
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.