RCMP arrest alleged accomplices in CRA scam calls

An RCMP investigation revealed the accomplices were working with scammers operating in India

phone scam

The RCMP arrested a Toronto-area husband and wife accused of aiding in the CRA tax scam and other overseas call centre scams.

As per a CBC Marketplace report, Gurinder Dhaliwal, 37, and Inderpreet Dhaliwal, 36, from Brampton, Ontario, were arrested and charged this week. Both face one count of fraud over $5,000, one count of laundering the proceeds of crime and one count of property obtained by crime.

Inspector Jim Ogden, from the RCMP’s financial crime unit in the GTA, said in a press conference Friday that the arrests will disrupt “the necessary flow of money from Canada to India, which will have a big impact on the operation and bottom line of scammers.”

Many Canadians will be familiar with the scam calls, which impersonate Canada Revenue Agency officials and threaten arrest or imprisonment if call recipients fail to pay outstanding taxes. According to the CBC, the scammers commonly operate from call centres in India.

Along with the two arrests, officials announced a Canada-wide arrest warrant for a 26-year-old foreign national. However, the third individual is currently believed to be in India.

Additionally, the RCMP said investigators searched the couple’s home and seized $26,000 in cash, $114,000 in jewelry, a cash-counting machine and envelopes allegedly sent by scam victims containing money. Police allege that Dhaliwal was an intermediary between Canadian victims and the organized crime groups operating the scam call centres in India.

According to Ogden, the CRA scam alone resulted in reported losses of over $17.2 million in Canada between 2014 and 2019. The CBC notes that other phone-based and online scams have targeted Canadians, and that the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received nearly 20,000 reports about scam calls in 2019. Further, the centre said more than 5,500 people fell victim to scams last year.

Ogden also told the CBC that his team’s investigation revealed the couple was working directly with scammers operating out of India. On top of that, the pair “were essentially money mules,” Ogden said. The couple received cash, counted it, dispersed it and make it accessible to those in India.

Additionally, Ogden leads Project Octavia, a special task force formed in 2018 to investigate the widespread scam after the CBC identified the location of one major criminal enterprise in Mumbai behind the calls.

You can learn more about the full CBC investigation in the publication’s detailed report.