07/15/2013 15:27 EDT | Updated 09/14/2013 05:12 EDT

25 fraud charges laid in scam worth $8M

Toronto police have charged 25 people in what they say was an elaborate fraud involving shell companies, false documents and money laundering to bilk financial institutions out of millions.

Police say between March 2011 and October 2012 the accused were able to swindle GTA financial institutions — some of them major banks —out of $8 million in loans they had no intention of paying back.

To carry out the scam, police say the fraudsters created shell companies to apply for the loans, some for more than $1 million.

Police say the accused would pose as accountants for the fake companies using fraudulent documents and financial records.

In some cases, they would seal the deal by passing off buildings and equipment as their own.

Toronto police Det. Sarath Thayalan said the scam’s entire aim was to secure phony loans.

“There was no honest intent, there was no intent to use that money for a legitimate purpose,” he said. “It was strictly designed to defraud a lender."

Once the loans were approved, the money was laundered in Canada and as far away as Switzerland and Hong Kong.

Some of the $8 million has been recovered.

Police believe there may be more victims and want to speak to any businesses or institutions that have received credit applications or financial documents involving the following businesses:

- Omnium Financial Group, 70 Silton Rd., Woodbridge.

- Yorkshire Capital, 8481 Keele St., Concord.

- A crown moulding company located at 4 Racine Rd., Toronto, that was operating under the following names: Creative Crown Moulding, Creative Custom Moulding, Colonial Crown Moulding, Canadian Crown Moulding.

- A millwork/cabinetry company located at 6150 Ordan Dr., Mississauga, that operated under the following names: Vintage Custom Millwork, Vintage Architectural Millwork, Vintage Millwork, Vertex Millwork, Apex Millwork.

- A printing company located at 731 Millway Ave., Vaughan, that operated as Insignia Print Group and Proview Print Group.

- A machining company at 2080 Steeles Ave. E., Brampton, operating as Matrix Machining & Tooling.

- A granite and stone fabrication company located at 450 Limestone Cres., Toronto, operating as Global Granite.

- A woodworking company located at 1760 Meyerside Dr., Mississauga, operating as Shankar Woodcrafts.