Calgary police have charged two men in connection with a vehicle fraud scheme they allege scammed victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In a Thursday news release, the Calgary Police Service said two men used stolen identities to buy vehicles, then replaced the vehicle identification numbers before selling them or refinancing them.
CPS alleges the same men were also able to obtain loans through financial institutions for vehicles they didn’t own.
“These frauds resulted in the victims of identity theft being held responsible for vehicle loans that had been taken out in their names, car dealerships being unable to sell vehicles that had liens placed on them, and legitimate vehicle owners having their vehicles repossessed by banks who were acting on the fraudulent loans,” police stated.
CPS estimates the total amount of money involved in the scam was over $800,000.
Through the investigation, CPS identified 10 people in Canada and overseas who they believe had been victimized in the scam.
Vehicles were recovered in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and the United States.
“In total, eight vehicles were believed to have been fraudulently purchased or financed in this scam, including two Porsche Cayennes, two Range Rovers, a Mercedes Benz G63 AMG, a Dodge Ram, a Jeep Grand Cherokee and an Audi A5,” police stated.
Investigators were able to recover five vehicles with a combined value of $410,000.
Police charged Sean Alexander Airey, 27, of Calgary, with one count of fraud over $5,000.
Meanwhile, officers are searching for Mohammed Khalid Alshanti, 37, who is wanted on warrants for fraud over $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance.
Police describe Alshanti as being 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and facial hair, and a heavy accent.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Alshanti is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.