Arrest warrant issued for man on 181 fraud, identity theft charges
Suspect was previously arrested and charged with 39 similar counts
Toronto police have issued an arrest warrant for a man facing more than 180 charges related to fraud and identity theft, months after he was charged with dozens of similar offences.
Police allege that the 44-year-old accused used victims' names to create fake pieces of identification, including drivers licences, SIN cards and citizenship cards. They say he used the fake IDs at various bank locations and opened accounts at multiple Money Mart, Cash Money and Easy Financial locations in the victims' names to obtain small- and long-term loans.
Accused wasn't working alone
Det. Const. Kristin Thomas of the Toronto Police Service's Fraud Division says the man wasn't working alone, but is the main target of the investigation.
"This whole fraud scheme started way back, almost a year ago," Thomas said. "Information came to light that ... mail was actually being stolen so that it could be utilized for identity-theft purposes at local Money Marts."
Thomas says the investigation eventually led her to the apartment of the accused, where police executed a search warrant and found and seized equipment being used to create fake IDs, in which the man allegedly substituted his own picture.
"He's made driver's licences, cards, birth certificates and they all look very real," Thomas said.
'He could be just about anybody'
What's equally concerning, the officer added, is that the accused appears to have detailed information on the individuals he's impersonating.
"He's able to answer questions from the information he's been able to obtain through, whether it's open mailbox theft or other means," Thomas said.
"Him being out there, he could be just about anybody walking around. He could provide different names to you while you're speaking to him very easily because he could back it up with the identification he's creating."
The man is charged with:
- Four counts of fraud over.
- 24 counts of fraud under.
- 37 counts of identity theft.
- 33 counts of personation.
- 44 counts of utter forged documents.
- 36 counts of possess counterfeit mark.
- Two counts of unlawfully deal with device that could be used for forgery.
- Procure to be made, possess, sell identity document of another.
Police believe there may be other victims, and they're worried there will be more if they are not able to apprehend him soon.
"He could very easily walk in and buy new equipment," Thomas said. "We can't stop him from doing that. It could result in other people being victims."
Thomas said similar identification thefts have been happening across the city and even outside of the city.
"I was finding out this was happening up in North York, Durham Region. It's kind of plaguing all these different areas."
Police originally arrested the man on Jan. 15 and charged him with:
- Fraud over $5,000
- 13 counts of identity theft
- 11 counts of personation
- 11 counts of utter forged documents
- possession of counterfeit mark
- possession of an identity document
- possession of instruments used to commit fraud
He appeared in court on Jan. 16.
Police issued their latest arrest warrant on June 3.
They are reminding members of the public to be vigilant to protect themselves against identity theft. Tips include:
- Be vigilant with your mail, especially if your mailbox is unlocked.
- Check mail regularly.
- Empty mail slots to avoid overcrowding.
- Ensure driver's licence renewals, government and cheques and other personal documents are being delivered.
- Watch for mail welcoming you as a new customer to any financial institution.