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An Ontario couple has been arrested and charged with laundering money in connection with the Canada Revenue Agency telephone scam. The two, husband and wife, were also involved in other multinational schemes. Their arrests are the result of Project Octavia, a longstanding investigation into the CRA tax telephone scam according to CTV News.
RCMP investigators arrested a 37-year-old man and 36-year-old woman on Wednesday in Brampton, Ont. They believe that there is also a 26-year-old foreign national involved, currently living in India whom they have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant for.
The RCMP said the CRA scam has been going on since 2014. Callers based out of India would call Canadians posing as federal agents and intimidate their victims into paying non-existent outstanding taxes or fines.
“This has led to Canadians becoming wary or suspicious even when CRA is attempting legitimate contact,” RCMP said.
There has been a total of more than $16.8 million in victim losses reported since 2014 in the CRA scam alone. That number jumps up to over $30 million with the inclusion of other scams such as tech support and bank investor scams according to the RCMP.
RCMP Insp. Jim Ogden spoke at a press conference in Milton, Ontario on Friday saying, “We have disrupted the necessary flow of money from Canada to India, which will have a big impact on the operation and the bottom line of the scammers,”
The pair recently arrested in Brampton were likely “money mules” purported Ogden, claiming that the couple laundered the proceeds of these telemarketing scams in Canada and sending it elsewhere.
Project Octavia has led to the takedown of 39 illegal call centres in India as well as arrests in Canada. A public awareness and prevention campaign has helped make Canadians more aware of the scam and RCMP’s efforts have helped to reduce the number of successful scam calls since 2018.
The proof is in the numbers as the total amount of victim losses in 2018 was $6.4 million and within a year that number was down to $1.4 million.
RCMP continue to go after money mule networks in Canada in cooperation with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and RCMP criminal analysts, Canada Border Services Agency, the CRA, provincial police and the RCMP liaison officer in India. Authorities in the U.S. and India continue to aid investigations as well.
Gurinderpreet Dhaliwal, 37, and Inderpreet Dhaliwal, 36, from Brampton have both been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering of the proceeds of crime, and one count of property obtained by crime.
“We remain steadfast in our pursuit,” Ogden said.