Three people are facing fraud charges after a Toronto police and RCMP investigation into five moving and storage companies.
It’s alleged the operators had agreed on fees with several customers but had then revised them to two or three times the original estimate once their personal property was loaded onto moving trucks.
The victims were later told that their property would be destroyed if they did not pay up.
The investigation, known as Project Haul, has been in the works since April and involved the operators of Green Moving, Capital Moving, Homeland Moving, Landmark Van Lines and Ryder Moving.
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Police said the operators allegedly had no intention of honouring the original fees quoted in the organized scheme.
On Tuesday, officers executed search warrants in the Tapscott Road and McLevin Avenue area, as well as in the Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East area, and seized property that allegedly belongs to some of the complainants.
Toronto police said the Canadian Association of Movers has co-ordinated to help return the recovered property to their rightful owners.
“These shipments will be completed in the coming weeks in time for the holiday season,” a Toronto police press release stated on Thursday.
One man and two women have been charged with a total of 37 offences in connection with the investigation.
Mesut Vatansever, 46, and Rahime Vatansever, 45, both of Toronto, are charged with seven counts of fraud over $5,000, eight counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, fraud under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.
Gizem Uzum, 22, of Toronto, faces two counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.
All three suspects are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on Dec. 22.
Residents are reminded to understand their rights and to take precautions when considering companies that provide moving services. Victims who believe that they have been defrauded by a moving company are also encouraged to notify the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Anyone with information can contact Toronto police at 416-808-7300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).