Financial Crimes investigators have made an arrest in an investigation into alleged frauds involving moving companies and believe there may be other victims.
Last month, investigators with the Toronto Strategic Partnership started an investigation -- Project Haul -- into allegations of fraudulent and extortionate conduct by a group of Toronto-based companies offering moving services to customers across Canada.
It is alleged that a number of people presented themselves as employees of companies operating under the names “Green Moving” and “Ryder Moving” from the Toronto area.
“They provided quotes for moving services that they had no intention of honouring and they provided false evidence of grossly exaggerated load weights as a ruse for fraudulently increasing costs to their victims,” A/Inspector Ian Nichol said, at a press conference at police headquarters on May 31. “They also held victims’ property in storage outside of their province of residence to be used as leverage and threatened to destroy it if extortionate fees were not paid in advance in order for victims to receive their belongings.”
Nichol said aliases and multiple company names were used in order to mask the identities of participants in the scheme and make recovery difficult for the victims.
On May 17, Toronto Police, RCMP and the Ministry of Government & Consumer Services investigators executed a Criminal Code search warrant at a business address associated to Green Moving in Scarborough.
“Investigators located and seized property belonging to two families that are alleged to have been victimized in the fashion described,” said Nichol.
He said both families had moved from Alberta to Eastern Canada.
“In one instance, a family agreed to pay a price of approximately $2,700 for the cost of moving a small two-bedroom family home with minimal belongings,” said Nichol. “The price that was ultimately charged was $14,000 and that was based on falsified load weights. We weighed the load, which was in the range of 5,000 pounds, as opposed to 12,000 pounds.”
On May 24, 30-year-old Burak Ozgan, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with two counts of fraud over $5000, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5000 and extortion.
He will make a court appearance at 1911 Eglinton Ave. E. on July 4 at 10 a.m.
While Ozgan is alleged to have played a significant role in the offences, investigators believe he didn’t act alone.
Police also believe there may be other victims who are living mainly outside Ontario.
People with recent dealings involving companies operating under the names Green Moving, Ryder Moving, Landmark Van Lines or Capital Moving Services are encouraged to contact Toronto Police Service Financial Crimes at 416-808-7300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook.