Recent arrests in a GTA Taxi fraud scam are making headlines. The fraud has cost hundreds of people in Toronto millions of dollars. We look at the scam and the charges involved.
How the Alleged Taxi Fraud Works
The alleged scam has allowed taxi drivers to steal credit/debit cards and access banking and personal information. Here’s how it works:
At the end of their trip, the rider goes to pay for the taxi with their debit or credit card. They type their pin into the card reader and an error message shows up. They pass the machine to the driver who fixes it and passes the card back, letting the rider know the payment went through. On the surface, it looks normal.
What actually happened:
The machine records the pin while that the rider types in. It’s preprogrammed to show an error message. This gives the driver an opportunity to remove the card from the rider’s sight. When they pretend to fix the machine, the driver actually swaps out the card for a replica. Now the driver has both the card and the pin, giving them access to the rider’s accounts.
Those arrested in association with this scam are facing multiple charges. These include:
- Either Fraud over $5000 and/or Fraud Under $5000
- Identity theft
- Unauthorized use of debit/credit cards
- Possession of property obtained by crime
If convicted, these charges are likely to lead to long incarceration. The accused are facing multiple counts of fraud over $5000. Since the total value of the offence exceeds one million dollars, the penalty for fraud carries a minimum of 2 years imprisonment.
Fraud over $5000
Just as theft over $5000 carries harsher sentencing than theft under $5000, fraud value escalates the punishment. It is also generally treated more severely than theft. In Canada, fraud over $5,000 can result in up to 14 years imprisonment. Whereas fraud under $5000 does not even have mandatory imprisonment.
Aggravating factors in fraud increase the likelihood of a lengthy sentence. In this instance of Toronto, taxi fraud scams likely aggravating factors include a large number of victims, as well as the complexity and duration of the fraud.
Although conditional sentencing is possible with fraud over $5000, aggravating factors increases the likelihood of imprisonment.
Toronto Fraud Lawyer
If you or a loved one are facing fraud charges, you need an experienced Toronto fraud lawyer. William Jaksa is a criminal defence lawyer with years of experience representing clients facing fraud-related charges.
From simple identity theft to multinational investment schemes, Jaksa has dealt with fraud charges of varying types and complexity. When you retain William Jaksa as your Toronto fraud lawyer he works closely to review your matter, providing your options and defence strategies.
Contact us today for a consultation.