TheSpec - 14 people face 153 charges in Toronto area identity...
14 people face 153 charges in Toronto area identity theft investigation
WHITBY, ONT. Durham regional police say they’ve arrested 14 people, laid 153 charges and broken an organized fraud ring in the Greater Toronto Area.
Police say the ring was based in east-end Toronto, operated across the province and was responsible for millions in fraudulent transactions.
Investigators say the group manufactured counterfeit credit cards loaded with personal credit card data stolen from numerous people.
The counterfeit credit cards were then used to purchase a wide variety of goods, including power tools, food, gasoline, gift cards and other items.
Investigators also allege several members of the ring were bringing people unlawfully into Canada outside of the normal immigration process.
The arrests were made Tuesday by provincial police and officers from the Durham, Toronto and York forces and Canada Border Services Agency in Toronto, Markham, Oshawa and Pickering. Investigators say they are still trying to identify a 15th suspect.
Among the items seized during the two-month investigation were equipment used to manufacture counterfeit credit cards, several ATM overlay devices, debit card terminals, evidence of identity theft and counterfeit foreign immigration passport stamps and stolen or altered Canadian passports.
“This can be a very lucrative business due to our society’s reliance on electronic purchasing,” said Durham police Chief Mike Ewles.
Cracking the ring has saved consumers and businesses millions of dollars in future losses, Ewles said.
Rick Comerford of the Canada Border Services Agency said such investigations help stop cross-border crime and keep communities safe.
“The positive results of this investigation show how partnership between law enforcement agencies can work to advance public safety,” Comerford said.
The Canadian Press