Police from 42 Division have arrested a husband and wife team believed to have pulled off a multi-million-dollar fraud and money-laundering operation dating back to June of 2016.
Project Fellowship investigated how a couple allegedly laundered over $8 million in cash and merchandise through a complex scheme ripping off financial institutions, retailers and the general public by using various forms of fake ID.
Balasubramaniam Shanjeefkaran, 35, and Sukanya Panchalingam, 30, both of Ajax, are facing multiple charges related to fraud including fraud over $5,000, possession of proceeds obtained by crime over $5,000 and laundering proceeds obtained by crime.
Investigators say the two obtained funds through a number of elaborate fraudulent schemes including opening legitimate business accounts and applying for loans with fake IDs and names. The couple are also believed to have even forged pay stubs, set up business phone numbers and websites to legitimize their background checks from financial institutions.
The couple apparently did not sit on much of the cash obtained, turning it over to obtain assets like high-end vehicles, including Mercedes and Land Rovers, and heavy equipment.
Police were first tipped off to the potential illegal activities after financial institutions came forward with hundreds of worthless cheques that had been deposited into several accounts.
“From there we continued with our investigation and revealed that there were many more victims,” Const. Micheal Lane said at a press conference Friday morning.
Investigators began to close in on the couple with the help of the victimized financial institutions sharing a trail of paperwork and surveillance video.
On Feb. 10, officers and investigators from 42 Division executed a search warrant in Ajax, which led to the arrest of Shanjeefkaran. Further searches revealed an accomplice, Panchalingam, who was arrested a couple days later.
Police say many of the illegally obtained vehicles were recovered in Quebec stored in containers and at auction houses.
Shanjeefkaran made a court appearance last week, while Panchalingam, who at one point worked for a financial institution as a fraud-detection agent, will see a court room on Thursday, April 6.
Police say the investigation continues and that there may be multiple victims of identity theft who have not come forward. Anyone who may have a connection to the couple are asked to contact investigators at 42 Division.
WATCH: Toronto police reveal ‘Project Fellowship’, a multi-million-dollar Fraud and money-laundering investigation.