Peel police have arrested and charged a Toronto man in connection with an alleged online romance scam, during which a woman was defrauded over $250,000 in crypto.
In September 2022, the suspect met the victim through an online dating website and began communicating daily via text and phone calls, police said in a release.
The suspect claimed he owned an “oil rig” in the Middle East and urgently needed money, police allege. The suspect promised to repay the victim and that they would eventually meet in person, police further said.
The victim, 73, only communicated with the suspect electronically and had never met the suspect in person, according to police.
After reading a media report about romance scams, the victim found that she had been the target of the scam, police say.
According to the news release, the victim was lured into giving over $250,000 to the suspect via cryptocurrency.
On Nov. 8, police carried a search warrant at a Toronto residence and have charged a 26-year-old with fraud over $5,000, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime and identity fraud.
Police located and seized high-value jewelry, a luxury automobile, and proceeds related to the offences, the release noted.
He was released on an undertaking and will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on Dec. 11.
Investigators believe that there may be more victims.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453-3311, ext. 3335.
Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or through peelcrimestoppers.ca.