Winnipeg isn’t the only city experiencing it, but there’s been an increase in thefts of luxury vehicles being sent overseas for profit.
Winnipeg police said Thursday several fraudsters have set up out-of-province bank accounts and stolen driver’s licences from out-of-province, as well as forged records to get vehicles from used luxury dealerships in the city.
Const. Jay Murray with the Winnipeg Police Service said this has left three sets of victims: the auto dealers, the people whose identities are being stolen, and the banks where fake accounts are being set up.
“They’d come in to contact with fake drivers licenses and fake employment records and use that to finance these vehicles around obtain vehicles that way,” Murray said.
“It’s a very complicated investigation.”
Officers said a big investigation with members of the financial crime unit has been happening since the summer of 2016.
This investigation was prompted after Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) recovered two vehicles in a shipping container in the Port of Montreal bound for overseas and noticed they were stolen from Winnipeg.
Since then, officers discovered during a two month period, a total of eight vehicles were obtained by the fraudsters from various dealerships with a total value of $520,000.
Following this investigation Project Whip was created by members of the financial crime unit in response to this fraud trend.
The six vehicles remaining of the eight that were stolen have not been found, nor have the individual or individuals involved.
An additional three vehicles were stolen in October and December of 2016 and a group of individuals have been charged in the thefts of those three.
The luxury vehicles were:
- 2016 Chrysler 300
- 2012 Mercedes C63
- 2012 Range Rover
However, the individual or individuals involved in the theft of the initial eight vehicles have not been identified.