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Police make 33 arrests in alleged nation-wide fraud scheme

HAMILTON - Police have made 33 arrests in what they call a nation-wide scheme that allegedly defrauded hundreds of people and financial institutions.Police say an organized crime group based in the Toronto and Hamilton area used malware, phishing and other means to access private information allowing it to take over bank accounts belonging to individuals and businesses.Investigators say group members would order new cheques and bank cards then send in recruits with fake IDs to withdraw money.They say the recruits would turn over the money to the organization and keep a percentage as their payment.It's alleged hundreds of fraudulent transactions took place in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.Police say they searched eight locations in Ontario and Quebec this week and uncovered a counterfeit ID lab.The suspects face roughly 200 charges, including identity theft and participating in a criminal organization.

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