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Montréal, March 29, 2011 –This morning, as part of an investigation into offences under the Criminal Code and the Canada Post Corporation Act, officers of the Montréal RCMP, with the co-operation of several municipal police services, made two arrests and conducted 24 searches in businesses and convenience stores in the greater Montréal area. The purpose of this operation was to prevent the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and reused stamps.
Following an internal investigation by Canada Post, postal inspectors requested the assistance of the RCMP Federal Investigation Section which examined the possibility that a network engaged in the sale of counterfeit stamps might be active in the Montréal and Toronto areas. A recent investigation by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, under Project ACCES, had also uncovered activities connected to the sale of counterfeit stamps. This information was used for the RCMP investigation.
Based on the parallel investigations by the Montréal and Toronto RCMP, it appears that the stamps seized originated from the same source of distribution. The stamps feature the same series of images, i.e. a portrait of the Queen, images of the Vancouver Olympics, and photos of Canadian lighthouses. The stamps were sold in convenience stores individually or in booklets of ten. A Canada Post franchise is one of the businesses targeted by the investigation. Reused stamps were sold on the Internet.
Since the beginning of the investigation in May 2010, a total of more than 40,000 counterfeit stamps and 10,000 reused stamps have been seized in Montréal and Toronto, and five individuals have been arrested. Charges were filed today in Toronto against two of the suspects and one individual has already been charged in Montréal.
The other individuals arrested as a result of this morning’s operation could also be charged with trafficking in counterfeit tokens of value and selling stamps without the consent of Canada Post. The RCMP investigation, in close collaboration with Canada Post, continues and more charges could be filed when it is completed.
Canada Post is pleased with the results of the investigation that will put an end to the illegal activities of selling counterfeit or reused stamps in the Montreal and Toronto areas. In the last few months, Canada Post Postal Inspectors have worked in collaboration with the RCMP to identify the culprits.
Illegal distribution and sale
The RCMP takes this opportunity to promote public awareness of this social scourge and to encourage retailers to refrain from engaging in this illegal trade.
These criminal offences are punishable by fines of up to $1 million or imprisonment for up to five years.
As part of the Economic Integrity Program, the RCMP will pursue its efforts to fight economic crime and enhance public confidence in Canadian capital markets.
The RCMP will continue to pursue appropriate action to enforce federal laws pertaining to illegal business practices.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police encourages citizens to report any information on suspected illicit activity by individuals or groups of individuals to the investigators of the RCMP at 514-939-8307.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
514-345-7503, ext. 54384