WATERLOO REGION — Five construction and farm machinery businesses were recently defrauded of a combined $390,000 by an organized crime group that bought equipment with fake bank drafts in several Ontario communities.
Waterloo Regional Police reported May 20 that 5 men between 26 and 37 years of age have been arrested and charged in the scheme; a sixth remains on the lam with a warrant out for his arrest.
Police say the group worked together to purchase construction vehicles and farm equipment using the fraudulent drafts and identification documents. The victimized firms are located in Puslinch, Markham, Burgessville, Vaughn and Toronto.
The arrests follow a multi-jurisdictional investigation between September 2020 and April 2021, led by the Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Organized Financial Crime Unit with assistance from York Regional Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto Police Service and South Simcoe Police Service officers.
Police seized more than $4-million in fraudulent cheques as a result of the investigation.
Two of the arrested men were apprehended near Queen Street and Lancaster Street in Kitchener. They were found to be in possession of $30,000 in Canadian currency and a rental vehicle, which was seized as crime-related property.
All of the accused face over 30 charges including:
- Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5,000
- Utter Forged Document
- Conspire to Commit
- Fraud Over $5,000
- Possession of Credit Card Data
- Identity Theft
- Breach of Release Order
The investigation remains ongoing, and anyone with information is encouraged to contact police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.