Peel Police Bursts Auto Theft And Insurance Fraud Ring, 12 Arrested

Police valued the seized vehicles, including BMWs, Range Rovers, and a Bentley, at $1.2 million. Project Memphis is estimated to have thwarted approximately $350,000 in insurance fraud.

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Peel police have arrested 12 individuals accused of orchestrating a vehicle theft and auto insurance fraud ring in and around the Greater Toronto Area. The operation, known as Project Memphis, resulted in the arrest of the suspects and the seizure of nine stolen vehicles, with over 81 charges laid.

The investigation initiated early in 2023 based on a tip from a vigilant member of the public, uncovered a group engaged in stealing vehicles from driveways and dealership lots. Subsequently, the criminals would alter the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) before enlisting individuals to purchase the stolen cars.

Acting Det. Sgt. Simon Kennedy, addressing reporters during a Wednesday morning news conference, disclosed that the accused leveraged their pre-existing knowledge in the automotive and finance sectors to execute these fraudulent transactions. The re-vinned vehicles were allegedly trafficked to buyers who were remunerated for fraudulently acquiring them, and in some instances, these buyers attempted to file fraudulent insurance claims by reporting the vehicles as stolen.

Police valued the seized vehicles, including BMWs, Range Rovers, and a Bentley, at $1.2 million. Project Memphis is estimated to have thwarted approximately $350,000 in insurance fraud.

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Investigators contended that some of the vehicles passed through local dealerships unknowingly involved in the illegal activity. A notable aspect of the case is that the majority of the charged individuals had prior employment in the automotive or automotive finance industry.

The vehicles were reportedly trafficked using a sophisticated approach that required insider knowledge to circumvent established systems aimed at preventing this type of fraud. The accused individuals, residing in Hamilton, Toronto, Mississauga, and Brampton, now face an array of charges, including trafficking in stolen goods, fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime, and forgery.

The individuals implicated in the case, namely Tristan Serrano, Josh Cunanan, Franc Martin Cruz, Destiny Ogieva, Rahul Bedi, Andrew Enriquez, Martin Suyat, Angelyne Suyat, Krista Mcintyre, John Ruivivar, Mahmoud Chehadeh, and Sear Azeem, range in age from 23 to 36 years old.

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