Three men charged with allegedly operating fraudulent taxi service across the GTA

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Three Brampton men are facing charges in connection with an alleged taxi scheme that reportedly bilked victims out of more than $37,000.

Investigators from the Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau, in cooperation with Toronto Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service and York Regional Police, have charged three males and have issued a warrant for a fourth suspect in relation to an alleged fraudulent operation involving a replica taxi. 

Police allege that officers have investigated more than 35 cases of debit card theft and frauds targeting local residents.

Police say the suspects would pose as the taxi driver and a rear seat passenger and approach the victims, at which point the passenger would offer cash in exchange for the victim using his or her debit card to pay the fare, claiming the taxi driver would not accept cash due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Police allege the victims would insert their debit card into a point of sale terminal that was modified to capture their personal PIN. After that, the driver allegedly swapped the victim’s card with a previously exploited debit card.

Police allege that the suspects would then use the stolen card and PIN to make large cash withdrawals and purchases.

The vehicle involved in these incidents was a decommissioned taxi cab and was not actively owned or operated by any GTA taxi companies, police say.

"This has been a difficult year for many who are suffering through personal and financial pressures created by the pandemic. Despite these challenges, people from our community agreed to help someone else and were victimized for their kindness," said Nick Milinovich, Deputy Chief of Investigative and Emergency Services, Peel Regional Police.

"It is satisfying to see this end, and our police service will continue to work diligently to hold offenders accountable for their actions and protect those that live, work or visit Peel Region."

Police have arrested 22-year-old Imran Kayani, 20-year-old Ounali Hussain and a 17-year-old boy in connection with the alleged fraud. Police say Kayani was out on judicial release at the time of his arrest. 

Police have issued an arrest warrant for 28-year-old Syed Ali Hussain. Police say he was also on judicial release at the time of the alleged incidents.

Investigators believe that there may be more victims, as the suspects are believed to have operated the replica taxi across various areas in the GTA. 

Anyone with information on this investigation is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at 905-453-2121, ext. 3335.  

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