Former worker charged with extortion of business owner in Brampton

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Published February 20, 2024 at 2:54 pm

Hitesh Bansal, 33, of Brampton, has been charged by Peel Regional Police with three counts of extortion. (Photo: Peel Regional Police)

Charges have been laid against a Brampton man accused of extorting his former employer as police are cracking down on violent threats targeting the South Asian business community in Mississauga and Brampton.

The latest arrest in the rash of extortions came last week after Peel Regional Police say a Brampton business owner received threats made against their family, employees and business.

Police say the alleged extortionist made the threats through phone calls and text messages. Police have been investigating dozens of similar cases, saying the threats and attacks are a common protection scam in India.

Peel police launched the Extortion Investigative Task Force (EITF) in December following an “increasing trend of extortions,” with similar incidents targeting South Asians in B.C., Alberta and the U.S.

Investigators with the EITF say they located a 33-year-old suspect in Hamilton who was arrested on Feb. 12 and charged with multiple counts of extortion.

Hitesh Bansal, 33, of Brampton, has been charged by Peel Regional Police with three counts of extortion.

The accused was held in custody pending a bail hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton.

Police say the accused is a former employee of the business who “claimed to have ties to the mob,” and told the victim they would force the owner to shut down their business.

Earlier this month, Peel police said they’d made at least five arrests and begun dismantling a “complex ecosystem” of alleged extortionists targeting the South Asian community in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon in over 30 incidents, including at least nine shootings.

In one incident police say multiple gunshots were fired at a business near Rutherford Road South and Clark Boulevard in Brampton. One person was arrested in the shooting while one suspect is still at large.

The task force says much of the personal information used by extortionists can be easily accessed online, and police are urging residents to be careful about what details they share on social media.

Anyone with information or who is a victim of an extortion related offence is asked to contact the Extortion Investigative Task Force by calling 1-866-966-0616 or email [email protected].

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