Tuesday, February 21, 2023

'Stand-ins' used by organized crime to sell homes without owner's knowledge

The same fraudulent driver's licence was used to rent two Toronto homes that criminals tried to sell. One of the frauds was thwarted but the other was successful. The case made headlines when Toronto cops issued a press release to help identify suspects. Stand-ins aren't the masterminds behind these frauds. They're usually low-level criminals in it for a quick buck. The 54-year-old man was out on bail for unrelated fraud charges and is currently facing a total of 14 other charges. While the photo belongs to the stand-in, the name on the driver's licence was that of another fraud victim.
Players at the next step of the fraud are like paid actors; they have rehearsed every answer. Few schemes succeed, but enough do and the payoff is high enough that organinzed crime keeps trying. At least 30 homes in the GTA have either been sold or mortgaged without the real owners' knowledge. An organized crime group starts by looking through publicly available information for a home with a small mortgage. Even the 'stand-ins' are shared among crime groups. After impersonating the homeowner things move quickly. A sale or mortgage can occur in days with crooks looking for the next fraud within a week.

TPS put out a press release seeking the public's help identifying this man and woman, who impersonated the homeowners in the sale.