RCMP have announced the arrest of two Canadians — a husband and wife from the Toronto area — in connection with the infamous CRA telephone scam that originates overseas and has taken aim at tens of thousands of Canadians.
A 37-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman, both of Brampton, Ont., were arrested and charged on Wednesday, said Insp. Jim Ogden, of the RCMP’s financial crime unit for the Greater Toronto Area.
They each face one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering the proceeds of crime and one count of property obtained by crime.
“We have disrupted the necessary flow of money from Canada to India, which will have a big impact on the operation and bottom line of scammers,” Ogden said Friday, announcing the charges.
Officials also announced they have issued a Canada-wide arrest for a third individual, a 26-year-old man, who is currently believed to be in India.
The scam involves harassing phone calls claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, with callers insisting the recipient owes taxes and must pay immediately or face arrest, imprisonment and salary garnishment.
More than 60,000 Canadians have complained of being contacted. Most who get the call identify it as fraud, and only a slim minority report being victimized, according to authorities. But in some cases those victims hand over life savings and even draw on lines of credit.
Victims are often elderly or new Canadians who don’t realize that federal tax authorities would never demand payment solicited by phone, or ask them to pay in difficult-to-trace Bitcoin or retail gift cards.
The RCMP investigation followed a CBC Marketplace investigation that revealed how and where many of the scammers were operating.
The CBC Marketplace investigation found that the scammers had Canadian accomplices ferrying the proceeds of the crime to bosses in India.