Network of Fraud IDs Shut Down

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 1:36 p.m. December 15, 2016

Fraud and corruption investigations are often complex and require a blue-collar approach to solve.

A man holding a glass award
Detective Constable Micheal Lane was recognized for his work on two financial crimes projects

Working long hours and using every resource at his disposal have made Detective Constable Micheal Lane a successful financial crimes investigator.

The 42 Division officer was rewarded for his investigative skill and talent with the International Association of Fraud Investigators Law Enforcement Award on December 8 for his work on two investigations.

Project Return of the Jedi involved an organized crime ring that created counterfeit government identification to open more than 400 businesses and bank accounts and obtain millions of dollars from proceeds of crime.

After Lane identified an alleged ringleader, financial institutions were able to shut down many accounts. With assistance from the Service’s own Organized Crime Enforcement Financial Crimes Unit, Lane set up a sting operation and was able to arrest and charge two suspects. They are facing over 90 money laundering and possession of proceeds of crime charges.

Project Fellowship is an ongoing investigation involving a criminal organization using counterfeit identification, collusive businesses and forged documents to obtain vehicles, mortgages and loans. Throughout the investigation, Lane has worked closely with multiple agencies, including the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Border Services Agency, the Ontario Provincial Police and many financial institutions.

Multiple vehicles have been recovered in Ontario and Quebec, nine arrests have been made, and close to 120 charges laid so far in this investigation.

John Van Seters, an investigator with BMO Canada, nominated Lane for the prestigious honour.

“At BMO, we were able to block 400 synthetic fraud accounts and save $1 million in loss exposure based on the efforts of Officer Lane in Jedi 2,” he said. “He uses all of the resources at his disposal and has built an enviable network of contacts to accomplish his primary goals of bringing criminals to justice and seizing their assets.

“On the subject of assets, I know, first-hand, where the officer has taken commercial properties that were enriched through the proceeds of crime. He is an avid proponent of asset forfeiture and knows the nuances of writing sound search warrants to accomplish his goals of arresting criminals and taking their profits.”

Lane was nominated for the award along with York Regional Police Detective Constables Julie Stynes and Rob Vingerhoets.

“This is a proud moment for me and I am really honoured,” Lane said. “When you are dealing with fraud, hands-on policing is required and you have to remember you are dealing with victims.”

A Service member since 2006, after serving just over six years with the Canadian Armed Forces on a part-time basis, Lane was a team leader with the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy for three years and a member of the Gun & Gang Task Force before being assigned to 42 Division.

Superintendent Kim Yeandle said Lane is a deserving recipient of the award.

“This is a significant honour as he was up against some big-hitters when it comes to fraud investigations,” she said. “Micheal is very detail-oriented, as you have to be with fraud investigations, and he works hard and is extremely committed to his job. I am extremely proud of him.”

Detective Sergeant Gerry Heaney also had high praise for Lane.

“He’s an exceptional investigator who gets to the bottom of very complex cases,” said Heaney.

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