Sleight-of-hand fraud leads to charges against 8 people
Ottawa Police believe accused are connected to an alleged ring of 'short-change' artists
The Ottawa Police have charged and arrested six adults and a 17-year-old girl and are looking for another adult in connection with an alleged ring of "short-change scammers."
Five men, one woman and the teen girl were arrested and charged with fraud, conspiracy and possessing the proceeds of a crime, police said Wednesday.
Police say the group has been targeting retail stores in Ottawa, using sleight-of-hand tactics to confuse cashiers in order to short-change purchases.
After underpaying for items, the scam usually continues by returning the purchase for the full amount, often leaving a single store missing hundreds of dollars, police said.
Ottawa Police were unable to comment on what locations were targeted, but said they have put an end to the problem, despite calling it an "ongoing investigation."
Police have charged but are still searching for a 31-year-old man in connection with the alleged scams. One of the people arrested appeared in court Tuesday, and the rest are scheduled to appear Wednesday.
All the adults charged are Romanian nationals and the teen is from England, police said. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is currently investigating the individuals, Ottawa police said.
The Ontario Provincial Police say they have also been dealing with a similar scam, as a Renfrew, Ont., Wal-Mart was defrauded of $600 on December 4.
The individuals were also seen at the Pembroke Wal-Mart later that same day.
Ottawa Police would not comment on whether the investigations were related.