Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The suspects in the Grandparent scam are linked to Italian organized crime

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The suspects in the Grandparent scam are linked to Italian organized crime

A group suspected of defrauding senior citizens in Ontario and other parts of Canada using the so-called emergency grandparent scam has ties to Italian organized crime. An investigator involved in the investigation led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) made the announcement.

Details of the interprovincial investigation, known as ‘Project Sharp’, were announced at a news conference in Scarborough on the morning of April 18. A 56-page charge sheet has been filed against 14 suspects arrested in the Montreal area, police said.

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Benoît Dubé, deputy chief of Surrey du Quebec, said the suspects were members of a group with links to traditional Italian organized crime. It is assumed that.

According to police, since January, investigators have identified 126 victims who were lured out of $739,000 by fraudsters. 14 of these victims were targeted by multiple frauds. This resulted in an additional $2 million in damage.

The majority of victims are from Ontario
According to the police, the victims of fraud are aged between 46 and 95 years and are residents of different parts of the country. But the majority of them are residents of Ontario.

According to investigators, four of the 14 arrested suspects are in police custody. The remaining 10 have been released on bail. The offenses they have been charged with are association with an organized criminal group, obtaining money by deception, impersonating a police officer and fraud.

OPP Deputy Inspector Sean Chatland told reporters on April 18 that the investigation began in September 2022 as an intelligence investigation. By February 2023, the investigation was transformed into a joint investigation led by the OPP. Both Ontario and Quebec police are involved in the investigation.

The victims had landlines
Chatland said in many cases the suspects used ‘money mules’ (people who offer to use their bank accounts to transfer funds in exchange for money) or messengers to collect large sums of money from victims. Victims were targeted for fraud only after it was confirmed that they had a landline connection.

According to Chatland, information that suspects used to lure victims into scams was available on the Internet. The impact of this fraud on the victims is huge.

Most frauds go undetected
Chatland said since the detective investigation began in 2022, victims of the fraud group have lost more than $2.2 million. That is what we have been able to establish. But we believe the number will be bigger. According to the OPP, only 5 to 10 percent of all fraud cases are reported to the police.

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