A warehouse full of high-end vehicles, Sea-Doos, appliances and even a skid of hardwood flooring were on display as Chief Constable Mike Ewles showed off the results of Project Infraction.
The media were invited to view some of the articles seized as part of the two month investigation, led by the DRPS Major Fraud Unit, with the assistance of the OPP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
It all began when a frontline DRPS officer stopped a car for speeding in Oshawa in early 2010 and discovered some questionable credit cards. That eventually led to a project team and the arrest of 14 persons across the GTA.
Several members of the cell were also involved in facilitating illegal immigration opportunities for people from South Asia. Officers seized falsified Canadian passports and fake border crossing stamps.
On March 1, 2010, search warrants were executed at seven residences and two businesses in Toronto, Markham, Oshawa and Pickering. Eight people were originally arrested, but in a short period of time, that number grew to 14 people. At last count, we were at 153 charges before the courts.
Project Infraction dismantled a manufacturing facility that was creating the cards and has saved retailers and consumers potentially millions of dollars in future losses.
Chief Constable Mike Ewles praised the leadership of the Fraud Unit and thanked the OPP and the CBSA in helping dismantle a fraud ring that police everywhere are seeing more and more of.
"Identity theft remains a lucrative industry for criminals because it is a low risk and high reward environment. As a society, we are fully absorbed into the world of electronic payment. Although the vast majority of transactions are secure and banks and credit card companies spend millions of dollars protecting your identity, electronic identity theft still occurs. Please protect your electronic identity and be aware of the hazards out there," he says.
Acting Detective Staff Sergeant Rob Kryzaniak from the OPP’s Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau and Jerry Jesso from the Canada Border Services Agency also spoke with reporters.
One suspect remains outstanding.
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OPP, CBSA and DRPS Working Together (JPG file, 192.2K bytes)
Chief Shows Reporters Fake Passports (JPG file, 123.2K bytes)
Chief Speaks to Large Group of Reporters (JPG file, 208.0K bytes)