3 men from Brampton arrested in GTA-wide taxi fraud case

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Investigators from the Peel Regional Police Fraud Bureau, in co-operation with Toronto Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service and York Regional Police, have charged three individuals and have issued a warrant for the arrest of a fourth man in relation to an alleged fraud investigation involving a replica taxi operating throughout the Greater Toronto Area that caused the victims a loss in excess of $37,000.

Officers have investigated in excess of 35 cases of debit card theft and frauds targeting well-intended citizens, Peel Police said in a statement issued on Friday afternoon. The suspects would pose as the driver of a taxi and a rear seat passenger, and approach the victims at which point the passenger would offer cash in exchange for the victim using their debit card to pay the fare, as the taxi driver would not accept cash due to Covid-19 contact limitations. The victims would insert their debit card into a point of sale terminal that was modified to capture the victims personal identification number (PIN) number, which was then followed by the taxi driver secretly swapping the victims card with a previously exploited debit card. The suspects would then use the stolen card and PIN to make large cash withdrawals and purchases.

The motor vehicle involved in these incidents was a decommissioned taxi cab and was not actively owned or operated by any GTA taxi companies, police stated.

“This has been a difficult year for many who are suffering through personal and financial pressures created by the pandemic. Despite these challenges, people from our community agreed to help someone else and were victimized for their kindness” said Nick Milinovich, Deputy Chief of Investigative and Emergency Services. “It is satisfying to see this end, and our police service will continue to work diligently to hold offenders accountable for their actions and protect those that live, work or visit Peel Region.”

On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, a 17-year-old-male youth from  Brampton was charged with 44 offences including Fraud Under $5,000, Theft Under $5,000, Possession of a Device to Obtain Unauthorized Use of a Computer System, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Unauthorized Use of Credit Card Data and Failing to Comply with Undertaking.

A general provision of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (Y.C.J.A.) prohibits the release of the name of a Young Person and, therefore, the identity of the Young Persons charged in this investigation is protected.

Imran Kayani, a 22-year-old man from Brampton was charged with 11 offences including Fraud Under $5,000, Theft Under $5,000, Possession of a Device to Obtain Unauthorized Use of a Computer System and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime. Kayani was also on a Judicial release at the time of these alleged incidents.

On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, Ounali Hussain a 20-year-old man from Brampton, was charged with 5 offences including Fraud Under $5,000, Theft Under $5,000 and Obstruct Peace Officer.

Syed Ali Hussain, a 28-year-old man from Brampton, is currently wanted for 11 criminal offences including Fraud Under $5000,
Theft Under $5000, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime and
Possess/Trafficking in Credit Card Data. Syed Ali Hussain was also on a Judicial release at the time of these alleged incidents.

Criminal Code search warrants were conducted on two residences and vehicles, during which investigators located evidence used to commit these offences.

Investigators believe that there may be more victims as the suspects are believed to have operated the replica taxi across various areas in the GTA, and are encouraging potential victims to contact their local police service.

Anyone with information on this investigation is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at 905-453–2121, ext. 3335. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting peelcrimestoppers.ca.

 

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