Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Financial Crime section, Toronto West Detachment (TWD), have charged another individual operating as a "money mule" in connection with a series of transnational telephone scams, which include the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Telephone scam, the Bank investigator scam, and the Tech support scam.
In October of 2018, the RCMP GTA Financial Crime Section commenced an investigation, named Project OCTAVIA. The focus of the investigation was to combat the CRA telephone tax scam and other interrelated scams through public awareness, disruption, and enforcement. These telephone scammers, who are operating out of India, have been targeting the Canadian public since 2014. Despite a number of police raids on illegal call centres in India, these scams continue to victimize Canadians. The Criminal Organization responsible for these scams recruits a number of individuals in the capacity of "money mules" to ultimately receive the victim funds and then launder the scam proceeds. In many of these incidents, individuals here in Canada on student visas have been recruited before coming to Canada, or while here, to carry out these fraudulent activities.
Cumulatively between 2014 and 2020, the CRA scam alone has resulted in reported victim losses totaling over $18 million dollars. Including the Bank Investigator and Tech Support scams, the total reported victim losses are over $35 million dollars. During this investigation, RCMP investigators uncovered "money mules /money mule managers" operating in Canada, who assist with laundering of the proceeds of these serious, cyber-enabled, financial crimes.
Naman Grover (22), of Mississauga, Ontario was charged with:
- Fraud over $5,000, contrary to the Criminal Code;
- Possession of proceeds of crime, contrary to the Criminal Code;
- Laundering proceeds of crime, contrary to the Criminal Code.
A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Grover, as there is information that he may have left Canada recently. The Project OCTAVIA investigation is continuing and further arrests and charges are anticipated.
"The RCMP and our many partners continue to work together to dismantle these criminal organizations. Money mules are a crucial component of this complex scam as they facilitate the flow of victims' funds to members of these illicit organizations." said Inspector Jim Ogden, Officer in Charge of the Greater Toronto Area Financial Crime Section at (TWD) in Milton, "Arrests and charges send a clear and important message – those who get involved as money mules will be arrested, criminally charged and prosecuted. Taking part in the illegal activities of these criminal organizations has other serious consequences; including revocation of student visas."
If someone on the phone is asking for your personal or banking information, hang up and report the activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If the caller is threatening you or your family, hang up and contact your local police. If you receive an e-mail or text message making suspicious tax claims and urging you to click on a link to submit information, don't interact and report the occurrence to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, through its website at www.antifraudcentre.ca, or by telephone at 1-888-495-8501.