A 21-year-old Oakville woman is one of many arrested by the Halton Police 3rd District Criminal Investigation Bureau in a series of frauds related to a Burlington romance scam.
In October and November 2020, an elderly victim was contacted by someone claiming to be a retired Canadian Army sergeant named Darren Michaelson, and began a romantic relationship online.
For several weeks, the victim was swindled over $ 150,000 after sending money to people she said were helping Michaelson settle legal issues and help her return to Canada.
The Oakville woman was arrested and charged with fraud over $ 5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $ 5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.
A 38-year-old woman from London, accused of fraud over $ 5,000, was also arrested and charged; a 36-year-old man from Toronto, charged with fraud under $ 5,000; a 35-year-old man from Toronto charged with fraud over $ 5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $ 5,000 and laundering of proceeds of crime; and a 28-year-old man from Toronto, charged with fraud over $ 5,000 and laundering proceeds of crime.
More arrests are planned and police believe there may be more victims.
Police would like to remind residents of the danger and frequency of these types of scams and not to send money or gift cards to people you haven’t met in person. Do not provide your personal information such as financial documents, identification or passwords when communicating online.
More information on scams is available on the Anti-Fraud Center website or on the Halton Regional Police Service website.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, online romance scams cost Canadians more than $ 7.3 million in 2020 alone.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Bureau of Criminal Investigations – Seniors Liaison Team at 905-825-4747, ext. 2344.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “Do you see something? Do you hear something? Do you know something? Contact Crime Stoppers ”at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or via the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.