Author: Stephen Armah Quaye || Toronto-Canada

Twelve suspects who were identified by the Toronto Police Service [TPS] for operating a transnational inheritance fraud scheme have been arrested and 102 charges laid in a major synthetic fraud investigation dubbed, “Project Déjà Vu.”

It was disclosed that to date, the transnational inheritance fraud and the synthetic identity scheme operated by the suspects has resulted in confirmed losses of approximately $4 million Canadian Dollars.

A press release signed by Toronto Police Constable Sinderela Chung for Detective Constable Sarath Thayalan to the media recently disclosed that, in October 22, TPS Financial Crimes Unit began investigating a synthetic-identity credit fraud scheme that began in 2016.

Constable Chung said the perpetrators were alleged to have created more than 680 unique synthetic identities, many of which were used to apply for and open hundreds of bank accounts and credit accounts at various banks and financial institutions across Ontario.

According to the Toronto Police, the fraudulently obtained credit accounts were then drawn upon by way of in-store and online purchases, cash withdrawals, or electronic fund transfers which in many cases, fraudulent payments were made into the credit account to allow them to be drawn beyond their defined limits.

It was learnt that the investigation began with a report from a financial institution who located several synthetic accounts, most of which had been opened by a single person who had previously worked on behalf of the company.

Based on this report, the Financial Crimes Unit initiated an investigation that grew quickly following the execution of numerous search warrants and the assistance of fraud investigators at Halton Regional Police Service.

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Through the search warrants, TPS located and seized several dozen synthetic documents including fraudulent government identification and electronic templates that creates false identifications and false documents.

Accordingly, hundreds, debit cards, credit cards and charge cards associated to bank and credit accounts obtained under synthetic identities approximately $ 300,000 in Canadian and foreign currencies were seized as proceeds of crime.

Synthetic identity fraud is a form of financial fraud in which fictional personal information (i.e. identity information that does not belong to a real person) is used to open accounts with banks, financial institutions, or other businesses.

Beyond facilitating fraud, accounts obtained under synthetic identities are known to facilitate other serious criminal offences, including the laundering of proceeds derived from human trafficking, drug trafficking, and armed robbery, among other serious crimes the Toronto Police Service has clearly stated.

How many elderly have falling victim to transnational inheritance fraud scheme can Ghana Police Service tell us?

In the next edition, two Nigerian nationals pleaded guilty to fraud scheme involving U.S. victims.

Watch Out For More….

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