@TorontoPolice ‘Project Royal’ Financial Crimes News Conference | Arrests Made, Luxury Items Seized

@TorontoPolice ‘Project Royal’ Financial Crimes News Conference | Arrests Made, Luxury Items Seized


Constable Caroline de Kloet: Good morning and thank you for attending Police Headquarters. My name is constable Caroline de Kloet and I’m here today to introduce Detective Sergeant Ian Nichol of financial crimes. He will be updating you on Project Royal. D/S Ian Nichol: Good morning, today I’m going to speak briefly about the Toronto Strategic Partnership and Project Royal. Once I’m finished I ask the hold your questions until I introduce Mike Kelly and Tim Trotter who are going to speak in greater depth about the investigation. The Toronto strategic partnership is a collaboration of the Toronto Police Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Competition Bureau of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the United States Federal Trade Commission and the United States Postal Inspection Service. We are tasked with the investigation and prevention of mass marketing fraud and cross-border mass marketing fraud. In the summer of 2016 information gleaned via a mass marketing fraud investigation, formed the basis of Project Royal. Investigators became aware of, and focused on allegations of ongoing fraud committed by a group of persons in the GTA. Members of this group allegedly lived the high profile lifestyle fueled by the proceeds of identity theft. Assistance to the Toronto strategic partnership during this investigation was provided by members of the York Regional Police, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian anti-fraud centre, Canada Post security and investigation services, the financial transaction and reports analysis centre of Canada which is also known as FINTRAC and members of the public. The investigation has resulted in the arrest and issuance of warrants for the persons I’m speaking of today. Among them are added Adedayo Ogundana, 45-years. Also known as Oladipupo Ogund, of Toronto who was arrested on Tuesday December 13 2016. He’s 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. He’s scheduled to appear in court in one at 1000 Finch Avenue West on Thursday May the 18th 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in court room 301. On Thursday March 9th 2017 a warrant first instance was issued for Duro Akintola, 44 years of Toronto. He’s also known as Mickey Noah and he’s wanted on several fraud related charges. Emmanuel Salako, 47 years of age of Toronto also known as Gee Salaq was indicted on fraud related charges by the United States Postal Inspection Service in Chicago under the name of George Salako. He’s currently wanted in the United States in relation to those charges. On the 24th of April 2017 members of the Toronto Police Service, the RCMP, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of consumer and business services executed a criminal code search warrant at Yorkville condominium that is alleged to be under the control of Adekunle Omitiran ,37 years of Toronto. Among the items seized were 39 thousand dollars in cash, seven watches valued at $310,000, clothing, jewelry, accessories and liquor which is valued at a further three hundred and ninety thousand dollars. All those items are alleged to have been obtained via identity theft. 37 credit cards in other persons names believed to obtained through identity theft, hundreds of pieces of mail that we are alleging are stolen, a series of notebooks containing the identity information of at least 5000 residents of the GTA was also located and that’s alleged to form the starting point of what amounts to over 10 million dollars in offenses committed through identity theft. On the 27th of April 2017 Adekunle Omitiran was arrested and charged with fraud over $5,000, four counts of fraud under $5,000, two global counts of identity theft, trafficking in identity information, possession of credit cards obtained by crime, two counts of the possession of proceeds of crime and failing to comply with probation. He’s scheduled to appear in College Park courtroom courtroom 509 on Thursday May 19 2017. One disconcerting component about this investigation is the belief of investigators that Adekunle Omitiran Omitiran maintains extensive connections to persons that have legitimate access to identity information and that they’re providing such access for consideration. Investigators are seeking the assistance of the public in identifying such persons. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Financial Crimes Unit at 416-808-7300 Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS, online at www.222tips.com or text TOR and your message to crimes which is 274637 Thank you for your time and I’m going to turn it over to Mike Kelly and Tim Trotter. Mike Kelly: Morning I’m Mike Kelly K-E-L-L-Y with the Toronto Police Financial Crimes and I’ll take any questions if you have any. Reporter: You said that these guys have extensive connections to persons who have access to identities. Who would that be? Kelly: Well I can’t speak specifically because at this point it’s just it’s an investigative belief at this time and we are pursuing a number of investigative leads on that front. I can tell you that we believe that he has associations with people in sensitive positions within financial industry, within the financial institutions, as well as a number of other places which would have access to sensitive information. Reporter: Any idea how these men were able to get the personal information that was found in those notebooks that were seized as well as the the mail that they attained? Kelly: Well we can say that the materials at least from the evidence that we’ve been able to review it appears at some point these individuals come into contact with mail that appears to have been stolen in one facet or another. That information is then transcribed what we believe into these notebooks and then checked out effectively. It’s some form of mechanism of checking the overall credit capabilities of it and the worthiness of exploitation and then a series of things flow from that which result in a new credit card being issued to a legitimate person and somebody associated with this group facilitating the interception of that credit card, taking it and then misusing it. Reporter: And the mail that they would steal to get that information was it, is it credit card bills? What kind of? Kelly: There’s a variety of pieces of mail that we’ve been able to seize and review. They do vary from your everyday banking statements, to your credit card bills and other forms of personal correspondence that would be sent to any normal person who has any form of a bank account or business dealing whatsoever. Reporter: So all of these items here, these luxury items they are legitimate items like these are not counterfeit at all. Kelly: That’s correct or at least in evidence that we found within the one residence does indicate that these items were purchased primarily in the Yorkville area, in and around that area and that there were receipts found inside the residence that does cause us to believe that that’s where they came from. Reporter: This guy’s items right? Kelly: Yes we are alleging that this is a condominium that was utilized by Mr. Omitiran. It was we are alleging that he gained access to the use of this condominium through a false pretense and mislead the owner of the condominium as to his identity as well as his area of residence and hid the nature of his business. Reporter: So he’s on bail? Kelly: He was on bail , he was on probation and at the time of his arrest so we charged him with a count of failing to comply with the terms of his probation. Reporter: So now he has no shoes? Kelly: This represents a small sampling of, I believe we’ve seized 90 pairs of shoes. The footwear alone is assessed to be in excess of $100,000, just in shoes. Reporter: Is this is a victimless crime detective? I mean I was just listening on on YouTube because I was a little bit late but it appears that people like us or victims because our credit cards become compromised, mine was last week, but the credit card companies are able to just sort of you know issue you a new card. How does it affect most people who, yes they’ve been victims of credit card fraud but don’t really feel like “you know what, so what, someones living off the proceeds of fraud” and how does it affect every everyday person? Kelly: Well there’s two sort of ways in which that occurs. Obviously when you pool the collective victimization of numerous people you’re able to obtain high value items, like excessive high value items through the defrauding of the banks, which which is one element of component of victimization. However there is the other component, where it is the individual people – very well and good that the bank doesn’t hold them necessarily accountable for the purchases and the bank absorbs the loss as you seem to indicate, but those individuals also potentially face weeks, months of repairing their own damage to them to their credit profile and their good name. So you’re talking about from what we found literally thousands of individuals all throughout the GTA whose information at least has been – is compromised and certainly in a position of risk, let alone exploited. Reporter: So how do you protect yourself? Kelly: There are a number of steps that I think are pretty much universal. One is just even paying attention for knowing when your credit card statements are coming and knowing that if they’re not showing up then that might be something that’s worth looking at. Going paperless is an option. I know a lot of banks offer electronic billing or notification. That’s another way of doing it. If you’re going to get a new credit card issued to you go pick it up at your bank, go pick it up at your local branch. That’s an opportunity where it doesn’t need to be intercepted. Again I know that all the credit bureau agencies recommend that you get your own personal credit check, check your own credit on a regular basis, on a yearly basis. It’s free. You can order a copy of your own credit report and see whether or not there are entries on there that are or aren’t yours. Reporter: (Inaudible) Kelly: Yeah well you can see for yourselves an opensource. A lot of the social media posts were there of conspicuous consumption at high-end places whether it be in Yorkville or the King West area and living a very very openly high profile lifestyle. I think it’s all again it’s all open source for all of you to view for yourselves and judge for yourselves. Reporter: What were they saying they were doing for a living? Kelly: From what we’ve seen and heard, what was being represented was that some indicated to people that they were businessmen, some saying that they were just in town for a little while and businessmen in fact all we believe all of them to be residents to the GTA. Mr. Omitiran has suggested that he is a mover, a mover who works for a moving company. That’s what he has stated. Reporter: And this lust for the high life is their primary motive. You know, as far as you’re concerned? Kelly: There’s no existence of any other motivation beyond, again the remnants of conspicuous consumption that are here in front of us right now. There is no evidence whatsoever of of anything beyond this. Effectively a hand to foot existence or hand to Cologne existence or whatever. Reporter: What kind of cars are they driving? Kelly: There’s one vehicle that we were able to view and find but it was a vehicle that’s registered in someone else’s name so we’re not a hundred percent sure if it was actually entirely his. It was a Jaguar. Reporter: But as far as I understand you can’t pay for an apartment with a credit card. How did he get the place in Yorkville. Kelly: We’re getting a little bit into, into where some evidence will be coming out at a later date. I can speak generally, that part of this group we are alleging that individuals were used sometimes as runners to go and go to banks and exploit the the credit card for sums of cash or gift cards. That’s a – that’s another way of realizing the profits. Reporter: Can you explain that a bit? What do you mean going to banks to realize? Kelly: Well effectively going in and using a credit card the same way you would about a debit card going in and receiving a cash advance on that credit card. So receiving you know a thousand dollars in cash but going around in multiple bank machines with multiple cards. One thousand becomes ten thousand rather quickly. Reporter: Can you tell us how much he was paying a month at that condo and how long was he there? Kelly: We don’t have any evidence specifically as it relates to a payment. From what we understand at least from what we’ve reviewed of the evidence that that the owner was under the belief that somebody needed assistance. Reporter: So did the moving company angle come into play at all in terms of getting the mail that they got? The access to the personal? Kelly: At this time there’s no evidence to suggest that it seems like it’s just you know if I asked you what you did for a living and you said you know I’m a marine biologist. Reporter: What do mean by when you said the condo owner believed that he needed assistance for people? Kelly: I can’t get too much into it because it’s talking about a very specific piece of evidence that we’ll be dealing with. I can’t really elaborate much beyond that. Reporter: Can you tell us what Yorkville condo tower it was? Kelly: I don’t at this time, I cannot in this setting. Reporter: How did you take this guy down? The main guy Omitiran, how did you arrest him. Kelly: Well the way we arrested he was arrested. We attended the area of the condominium that we wished to search. We attempted to arrest Mr. Omitiran outside of the the condo. As he was approached by officers, he ran. Incidentally shortly after the foot pursuit was over a citizen, a member of the public actually pointed to the area where he – around the area where he started running and pointed to a credit card belonging to somebody not being Mr. Omitiran in the area that he ran from. So we then executed the search warrant on the condominium and a vehicle that was parked in a garage nearby and Mr. Omitiran surrendered himself through through his counsel to us on the Thursday, Thursday the 27th. Reporter: Sorry when was the search warrant executed. Kelly: April 24th, Monday April 24th. Reporter: Can any of this be returned to where it was the purchased from? Kelly: Effectively that the it could be returned to the place of purchase but the the entity that’s effectively out the money are the actual credit card providers – which in most cases are the banks themselves. And there is some suggestion that there even at individual vendors that there has been some suggestion that there might be complicity at the places of purchase. That individuals may be looking the other direction and saying well as long as it goes through the banks are going to wear it anyways. There’s some suggestion of that and we’re investigating that as well. There’s a lot of elements and layers. Obviously this type of realization, this type of action isn’t something that one person can just do by him or herself. Effectively needs a network of people behind him or her and that is our that’s what we’re pursuing at this point. We believe again that he’s received assistance at a number of different places, in a number of different facets.Reporter: I’m just a little confused. There are a bunch of people, you have a number of arrests made and some warrants outstanding. Kelly: Yes. reporter: How do you – how do you – are these people all connected and how are they connected? Kelly: From what we understand that a number of these individuals – that they are a group of friends or at least social associates. And it’s by investigating individual acts and actions and exploring different pieces of evidence that we’ve obtained through the months – it’s been it was the late summer of last year when we started picking through it. When we start seeing the same names and the same types of pieces of information that pop up again and again. You start realizing that perhaps in some instances people may work together or facilitate things for one another. Reporter: Are some of these people that you’ve arrested or you’re trying to arrest are they involved in financial services? Are they behind the scenes? Kelly: The individuals that we’ve announced today no. We have identified individuals that have worked in those positions. We made appropriate notifications and we were subsequently informed that those individuals are no longer in those positions. Reporter: So some of the people arrested may have worked in a financial institution before? Kelly: No, just some people that were associated to some of these people. Reporter: So what happens with this merchandise now? Kelly: At this point we will be seizing it effectively as the proceeds and the realization of crime and it will be up to the court to decide if and when that comes, to whom it belongs or what purposes should go to. Reporter: Can you talk about the wine down there? What kind of fun taste did he have in wine? Are these expensive? Kelly: Yeah it’s my understanding that there are you know – one to two hundred dollars a bottle and I believe we had a total of a couple thousand dollars in liquor. We had fifteen thousand dollars in cologne, we had over two thousand dollars just in skin moisturizer, we had ten thousand dollars in sunglasses. It’s just like I say, it’s the absurdity of the consumption which stands out and the extent to which it was realized and possessed was unusual. Reporter: And this was all in the condo were Mr. Omitiran was living? kelly: Correct. This is a small sample.We seized I believe there was about 90 pairs of shoes totaling more than a hundred thousand dollars in value. Reporter: And so would you consider him then the ringleader? Kelly: I don’t know if that’s an appropriate characterization at this point. We’re still investigating that. There’s other pieces of evidence that we’re still waiting on and to have analyzed. We’re open to that possibility but at this time it just would be irresponsible to say one way or another. Constable de Kloet: Any last questions? Kelly: Thank you. Constable de Kloet: That concludes today’s conference thank you for attending. There’s a news release with all the information, the charges and courts dates that’s also just been released.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

5 Comments

  1. wowww you guys might wanna check with the banks because some of these criminals are working with the banks officials. how did you think they got some of their information? how did they get the credit cards information? open your god dam eyes officers. the banks should be investigated and i am 1000 percent sure you will find all the clues and all the missing puzzles. just saying.

  2. Good job police good job these guys are giving Nigerians Bad Name .this criminals are making innocent people hard-working people look bad. You should lock them up in jail and throw away the key because wanted thief always a thief.🔒🔒🔒🔒🔒

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