2020-10-28 10:39 PDT
File # 2020-16805
The West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit recently uncovered a massive identity theft and fraud operation taking place on Vancouver Island.
The investigation began on September 18th, 2020, when the unit received a complaint about a fraudulent bank draft that was used to purchase a used vehicle from a dealership in Colwood. Officers looked into the matter further and learned of four other transactions where fraudulent bank drafts were used to purchase vehicles from other dealership locations on Vancouver Island.
By using various police investigative techniques, the unit was able to track down the vehicles and identify two suspects. Police determined that one of the vehicles was used in a recent break and enter that took place in September at Adams Storage in View Royal, where eight separate lockers were reportedly broken into. Victims described the contents of the storage lockers to officers which included personal documents and identification cards along with valuable goods.
On October 21st the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit executed a search warrant for the suspect’s residence located in Langford. Inside the home, police found the stolen contents of the 8 storage units along with a vast amount of evidence of identity and bank fraud.
“Police believe the stolen personal documentation was being used to make a variety of fraudulent cards including, BC Identification cards, BC drivers licence cards, firearms licences, status cards, credit and gift cards as well as fraudulent bank drafts and cheques,” said Cst. Nancy Saggar, West Shore RCMP Media Relations Officer. “Investigators seized sophisticated equipment including credit card embossers, credit card PIN machines, heavy-duty printers and computers used to create the fraudulent cards. This is a massive investigation and officers are still combing over the evidence collected as well as returning stolen items to rightful owners.”
Two suspects have been arrested for possession of stolen property and fraud-related offences. The suspects are identified as a male and female both 30 years of age. Police are continuing their investigation and numerous charges are forthcoming.
“Thus far we have seized over 1,000 pieces (and counting) of stolen identity cards,” said Cst. John Taylor of the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit. “Officers on the Crime Reduction Unit have spoken to several identity theft victims identified in this investigation who have shared their stories of being defrauded as a result of this. One victim advised that they had been dealing with identity fraud for some time and have experienced financial hardships due to the fraudulent activity taking place under their name. The fraud that was committed here is in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
To learn more on how to protect yourself from fraud or what to do if you are a victim of fraud, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website: https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm
Cst. Nancy Saggar
Media Relations Officer
West Shore RCMP
698 Atkins Avenue, Victoria, BC V9B 3A4