2 Nigerian scammers arrested over $10m fraud in Canada (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Toronto police have arrested two Nigerians and are searching for a third in a massive fraud investigation dubbed Project Royal.
The individuals involved lived a “high-profile lifestyle of conspicuous consumption fuelled by the proceeds of identity theft and fraud,” police allege in a statement Tuesday.
Police said they have seized 37 stolen credit cards, hundreds of pieces of presumably stolen mail, and a number of notebooks containing the personal information of at least 5,000 GTA residents.
“Thousands of individuals across the GTA have had their information compromised,” said Det. Const. Mike Kelly.
The evidence was found April 24 after police executed a search warrant at a Yorkville condominium that is believed to be “under the control” of Adekunle Johnson Omitiran.
Police also found $39,000 in cash, $310,000 worth of watches and about $390,000 worth of clothing, jewelry, accessories and liquor, said Det. Sgt. Ian Nichol.
Nichol said he believes that all of the items were obtained through identity theft. The resulting losses are estimated at more than $10 million.
Omitiran, 37, turned himself in to police on April 27, and has been charged with fraud over $5,000, four counts of fraud under $5,000, two counts of identity theft, trafficking identity information, possession of credit cards obtained by crime, two counts of possession of proceeds of crime, and failure to comply with probation. He will appear in court on May 19.
Investigators believe that Omitiran had connections to people who had legitimate access to identity information, and that it was sold to him for a fee. Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the individuals who provided him with the information.
Adedayo Ogundana, 45, also known as Oladipupo Ogund, of Toronto, was arrested in connection with the case on Dec. 13, 2016, and was charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, 10 counts of fraud under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and possession of proceeds of crime, police said. He will appear in court on May 18.
On March 9, police issued a warrant for Duro Akintola, 44, also known as Michie Noah, of Toronto. Another man, Emmanuel Salako, 47, also known as Gee Salaq, was indicted by the United States Postal Inspection Service in Chicago under the name George Salako, and is wanted in the U.S.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Financial Crimes at 416-808-7300 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
The investigation, which according to police has been ongoing since summer 2016, was conducted with the help of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Competition Bureau of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, York Regional Police, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canada Post Investigations, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and members of the public.