BUSINESS

3 charged in alleged crime ring that cost Ont. government, banks millions: RCMP

11/27/2013 04:59 EST | Updated 01/27/2014 05:59 EST
TORONTO - The Mounties say they've broken up an alleged organized crime ring that police estimate bilked the Ontario government and banks of millions of dollars.

Police allege a group based in the Greater Toronto Area recruited people to come to Canada and then used "these victims" to defraud the government, individuals, businesses and chartered banks.

Police say the accused got the victims to collect social assistance through fraudulent means and also to defraud banks by depositing stolen cheques, increasing credit limits and withdrawing the funds from their accounts.

Investigators estimate that millions of dollars were lost through fraudulent social assistance payments, stolen cheques and bank related frauds.

The RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police and the Canada Border Services Agency executed multiple search warrants on Tuesday and arrested three Toronto residents.

The three are charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of identity information, possession of property obtained by crime, and conspiracy to commit the other three offences.

An RCMP spokesman said the investigation is ongoing and he could not reveal the actual amount of the alleged frauds or provide any details about the foreign recruits.

However, Sgt. Vance Morgan said investigators believe those arrested Tuesday are one cell of a larger alleged crime ring.