Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Financial Crime Section, Toronto West Detachment (TWD) in Milton, Ontario, have arrested and charged a man from Brampton in connection with transnational telephone frauds, including the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) telephone scam, the Bank investigator scam, and the Tech support scam.
To address the victimization of Canadians, in October of 2018, the RCMP initiated an investigation, named Project OCTAVIA. The focus of the investigation was to combat the CRA telephone tax schemes and other interrelated frauds through public awareness, disruption, and enforcement. These telephone fraudsters, operating from overseas, have been targeting the Canadian public since 2014. Despite a number of police raids on illegal call centres in India, and arrests in Canada, these fraudsters continue to modify their deceitful pitch and target Canadians. To date, ten (10) individuals have been charged with respect to this investigation.
Cumulatively between 2014 and 2020, the CRA scam alone has resulted in reported victim losses totaling over $18.5 million. As of October 1, 2020, between the CRA, the Bank investigator and Tech support scams, the total reported victim losses are over $34 million. During this investigation, RCMP investigators uncovered "money mules/money mule managers", who helped launder proceeds of crime within Canada and overseas.
Abhinav Bector (age 25) of Brampton, Ontario, was charged with:
- Fraud over $5,000, contrary to the Criminal Code;
- Possession of proceeds of crime, contrary to the Criminal Code;
- Laundering of the proceeds of crime, contrary to the Criminal Code.
Mr. Bector is scheduled to appear at the Brampton (A. Grenville & William Davis) Courthouse, 7755 Hurontario Street, Brampton, Ontario on January 18, 2021.
"Fraudsters need to take heed and realize there are consequences to their unlawful activities: criminal charges and prosecution in a court of law. Irrespective of the participant's role in transnational fraudulent ventures - whether masterminds of the scheme or mules facilitating the money laundering - the RCMP will investigate and bring to justice those who extend the criminal tentacles of their fraudulent operations into Canada.", said S/Sgt. Ken Derakhshan, Project OCTAVIA's Team Commander. "Fraud and money laundering cause devastating financial and psychological consequences to their victims. The RCMP is steadfast in its pursuit of those who prey on unsuspecting and sometimes vulnerable individuals, and attempt to undermine Canada's economic growth and integrity".
If someone on the phone is asking for your personal or banking information, hang up and report the activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If the caller is threatening you or your family, hang up and contact your local police. If you receive an e-mail or text message making suspicious tax claims and urging you to click on a link to submit information, don't interact and report the occurrence to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at www.antifraudcentre.ca, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.