$4M stolen in Ontario synthetic-identity credit fraud; 7 Brampton residents among 12 charged


Published April 29, 2024 at 12:32 pm

synthetic identity fraud brampton

Seven Brampton residents are among 12 people charged in an alleged synthetic-identity credit card fraud scheme across Ontario.

Today, the Toronto Police Service announced 12 arrests and 102 charges laid in a major synthetic-identity fraud investigation dubbed Project Deja Vu.

Synthetic-identity fraud is typically defined as a form of financial fraud in which a real person’s information, such as their Social Insurance Number or date of birth, is stolen and combined with other falsified personal information to create a new identity.

In October 2022, Toronto Police’s started a lengthy investigation into an alleged synthetic-identity credit fraud scheme that dates back to 2016, police said in a press release today (April 29).

More than 680 unique synthetic identities were created and many were used to apply for and open hundreds of bank accounts and credit accounts at various banks and financial institutions across Ontario, police said.

These bank accounts or credit cards were then used for in-store and online purchases, cash withdrawals, or electronic fund transfers.

In many cases, fraudulent payments were made into the credit accounts to allow them to be drawn beyond their defined limits.

To date, this scheme has resulted in confirmed losses of approximately $4 million, police said.

The investigation started after a financial institution found several synthetic accounts, most of which had been opened by a single person who had previously worked on behalf of the company, police said.

Based on this report, the Toronto Police 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.

To date, police executed more than 20 search warrants and 80 production orders to investigate this matter.

Police seized several dozen synthetic identity documents (including fraudulent government identification) and electronic templates to create false identifications and false documents.

synthetic identity fraud brampton

They also found hundreds of payment cards (debit cards, credit cards, charge cards, etc.) associated with bank/credit accounts obtained under synthetic identities, police said.

Approximately $300,000 in Canadian and foreign cash was seized as proceeds of crime.

synthetic identity fraud brampton

Beyond fraud, accounts created with synthetic identities are also 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, police said.

The seven Brampton residents facing fraud and other charges include Hasnain Akram, 28, Zelle Ali Choudary, 34, Fahad Ben Mofeez, 30, Muhammad Usman Saif, 32, Ali Sana, 26, Sibt Hussain Syed, 60, and Mueed Tanveer, 27.

Two other Peel Region residents, Ranafayysal Masood Khan, 38, of Mississauga, and Rashad Iqbal, 41, of Caledon, also face charges.

synthetic fraud ontario

Nine Region of Peel residents face charges in the fraud case. Photos: Toronto Police

Muhammad Hamza Baig, 31, of Ayr, Anmol Khurana, 27, of Markham, and Mian Muhammad Saud, 35, of Belle River are the remaining three people charged.

Investigators believe there may be additional incidents and victims. Toronto Police have released images of all those charged here.

Investigators want to speak with anyone who has information related to this investigation, and, in particular, police would like to speak with any business owners who were approached by any of the people charged.

Any businesses or people who did home renovations for any of the charged people should also contact police.

And anyone who bought items (particularly appliances, electronics and/or automotive parts) from any of the arrested men should also contact police. These sales may have happened through an online buy-and-sell platform.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7300, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.

If you are a victim of fraud, report the incident to your local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

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