2 charged, 1 suspect sought in $10M GTA identity theft investigation

2 men charged by Toronto police in connection with identity fraud investigation
WATCH: 2 men charged by Toronto police in connection with identity fraud investigation. Catherine McDonald reports.

Two men from Toronto have been charged with orchestrating what police say was a sophisticated identity theft ring that resulted in the seizure of over $10 million in purchased goods.

Toronto police began their investigation dubbed “Project Royal” in the summer of 2016 after they were made aware of a group of individuals who investigators say were involved in using stolen mail to obtain personal and credit card information from residents living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“[It] appears at some point these individuals come into contact with mail that appears to have been stolen in one facet or another,” Det. Const. Mike Kelly told reporters during a press conference Tuesday morning.

“That information is then transcribed in what we believe to be in notebooks and then ‘checked out’ effectively, it’s some form of mechanism of checking the overall credit capabilities of it and the worthiness of exploitation, and series of things flow from that which result in a new credit card being issued.”

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Police said the accused had connections to individuals in the financial industry which helped them fuel their “high-profile lifestyle.”

“Among the items seized include $39,000 cash, seven watches valued at $310,000, clothing, jewelry, accessories and liquor valued $390,000, all items alleged to have been obtained via identity theft,” Det. Sgt. Ian Nichol said.

Police said they also seized 37 fraudulently obtained credit cards and a series of notebooks containing the handwritten identity of approximately 5,000 GTA residents.

Adedayo Ogundana, 45, also known as Oladipupo Ogund, was arrested on Dec. 13, 2016 and charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, 10 counts of fraud under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and possession of proceeds of crime.

Adekunle Johnson Omitiran, 37, was arrested on April 27 and charged with multiple offences including fraud over $5,000, fraud under $5,000, identity theft, possession of credit card obtained by crime, possession of proceeds of crime and fail to comply with probation.

Police said an arrest warrant was issued on March 9 for 44-year-old Duro Akintola, also known as Michie Noah.

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Police believe Omitiran had connections to people who had access to personal financial information and are seeking the public’s help identifying these individuals.

“We believe he has associations with people in sensitive positions within the financial industry, in financial institutions, as well as other places that would have access to sensitive information,” Kelly said.

Investigators said the investigation involved a collaboration between multiple police forces and government agencies including the RCMP, Competition Bureau of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ontario Ministry of Finance, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Financial Crimes at 416-808-7300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).