09 Jul 2019
A former RCMP organized crime and money laundering investigator says that fraud is a fast-growing business for gangsters that have realized Canada’s justice system is vulnerable to scams that net criminal proceeds estimated at up to $6 billion annually.
And, like drug-trafficking proceeds, these funds are laundered into real estate, driving prices higher. But fraud proceeds are even easier to hide and clean than drug cash, according to Henry Tso, the former superintendent in charge of RCMP’s federal serious organized crime and financial integrity team in B.C.
In an interview with Global News, Tso said that ten years ago he noticed crime cartels increasingly moving into fraud and exploiting the same systemic weaknesses — such as lack of police resources and weak prosecution and sentencing — that currently exist in Canada’s anti-money laundering regime.
“Organized crime knows fraud is the way to go. Because if you get caught it is not like getting caught for drug-trafficking.”
Tso is now a senior manager for major fraud probes with auditing firm MNP’s forensic and investigative services team. He says his work with MNP shows Canadian businesses suffer an estimated $3 billion in fraud losses annually, and organized crime is responsible for much of the damage.
And average Canadian citizens are targets too. Tso says formal records show that individuals lost $405 million to fraudsters from January 2014 to December 2017. But some estimates put losses to individual Canadians as high as $3 billion per year, Tso said. A recent MNP study found that B.C., Alberta, and Ontario have the most incidents of financial fraud.
By Sam Cooper, Global News, 8 July 2019
Read more at Global News
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