Calgary Post-Secondary Institutions and Alberta Student Aid Board Scammed $ 240,000 Under Student Loans Program – Calgary
One man has been charged and another is wanted on warrants after an elaborate student loan fraud scheme that resulted in the fraud of more than $ 240,000 from the Alberta Student Aid Bureau and from several Calgary post-secondary institutions.
Calgary Police said they began their investigation in October 2019 after a peace officer from the Higher Education Special Investigations Team contacted them about a number of inconsistencies with several requests for student loan, police said in a press release Tuesday morning.
It is alleged that two men used the stolen identities and personal information of 21 people who were previously victims of other data breaches and mail thefts to fraudulently apply for student loans from the provincial government. The incidents took place between May 2017 and May 2020, police said.
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Police said the men would use the stolen IDs to register as students at post-secondary institutions and apply for student aid. Most of the loan applications were made online. Police said loans had been approved in amounts of $ 25,000 to $ 38,000 for each “student.”
The money was deposited into the bank accounts provided by the suspected fraudsters. Police said the bank accounts were also opened using the same stolen credentials and personal information.
The suspects attended the school, posing as students, in order to qualify for the loans, police said. The men would then call the Alberta student aid bureau to request the second loan repayment, police said.
The total payment for each loan was over $ 27,000, CPS said.
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Police said the men attended multiple schools under different identities in order to maximize the amount of money they could receive.
âIdentity theft and fraud are serious crimes with significant consequences and impact for victims,â said Master Sgt. Geoff Gawlinski said.
âOften, victims don’t know they are a victim, even after their finances and credit have been damaged. We are working diligently with the administrative staff of all affected schools, as well as with the Alberta Student Aid Loan office and various financial institutions to ensure that strong security measures are in place. “
Dave Guylenz Mitchell Beauvais, 32, is charged with money laundering, fraud over $ 5,000, identity theft, possession of identity documents, forgery of documents and possession of a controlled substance. He is due in court on November 10.
Kader Dahchi, 30, is wanted on warrants for one count of using a false document and one count of identity theft.
The suspects are also suspected of committing credit card and check fraud, as well as fraudulently obtaining courier services.
Increase in fraud activity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
The Calgary Police Department said it has seen an increase in online fraud and identity crime throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police said that as offices quickly shifted to remote work situations, there was an increase in identity fraud committed online.
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In 2019, 148 online identity crimes were reported to police. Last year, that number jumped to 261.
Police say this is not a crime to be taken lightly. Criminals who steal identities and personal information can be linked to organized crime such as drug and human trafficking.
CPS provides the following tips to help individuals protect their personal information:
- Do not give any personal or financial information, including bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and birth dates, to someone you don’t know, and do not enter it on insecure websites.
- Regularly monitor financial records such as bank statements, credit reports and bank accounts. If you notice anything suspicious, notify your financial institution immediately.
- Report the fraud to the police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.
Calgary police did not disclose the names of post-secondary institutions affected by the scheme.
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