Halton police have added more charges to those against a Montreal man who is suspected of defrauding several elderly individuals, in the Halton area.
In early April of 2022, the Halton Regional Police Service responded to an emergency scam in progress at an address in Milton. This type of fraud, often referred to as the “grandparent scam”, has been an ongoing trend across Halton Region resulting in dozens of community members being victimized. The suspect was scheduled to attend this location in order to collect $12,000 cash from a victim for the alleged and fabricated bail of her nephew, a theme often used by fraudsters throughout the GTA. When the suspect showed up at the victim’s residence and was cuffed by investigators and charged with Fraud Over $5000.
This same suspect was investigated further following this initial arrest, as it was believed that he was committing further fraudulent offences. On May 19, 2022, investigators executed search warrants at a hotel in Mississauga and a Toronto storage facility. This same suspect was once again placed under arrest, and charged with 7 additional Criminal Code and Controlled Drug and Substance Act charges.
Sergo Laine (32 years) of Montreal is charged with:
Fraud Over $5000
Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000
Possession of a Controlled Substance (3 counts)
Possession of Identity Documents
Possession of Counterfeit Mark
Laine was released on an Undertaking.
A photo of Laine is attached as police believe there may be additional victims. Investigators are asking anyone who has information or has been victimized by him to contact the Regional Fraud Unit – Intake Office at 905-825-4777 ext. 8741.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca
These types of scams typically involve the victim receiving an unsolicited phone call regarding a loved one being in distress. The perpetrators falsely identify themselves as a loved one, or impersonate a police officer and/or other participants of the criminal justice system (such a lawyers, bailiffs, and “bondsman”), falsely claiming that the loved one is in police custody as a result of a specific incident. They request a larger sum of money to have the supposed loved one released from custody, or to pay for associated bills/fines accrued as a result of the alleged incident. The funds requested can be in the form of a direct cash payment, bank transfers, various gift cards, and digital currency. While the scam is ongoing, and the payments are being made, the perpetrators will on occasion use the threat of a fictitious “gag order” to prevent the victim from discussing the matter with anyone else.
Tips to protect yourself
• Attempt to verify the caller’s identity – do not volunteer any information, and further ask very specific probing questions about the caller.
•Request to call back the initial caller – then independently find the number of the police service (or other purported agency in question) and call them directly to clarify the situation. If unsure, call your local police service and ask them for assistance.
• Attempt to directly call the loved one in question and clarify the matter with them.
Additional information on frauds and scams can be found here. https://www.haltonpolice.ca/en/staying-safe/frauds-and-scams.aspx