EPS investigation identifies purchase order scam targeting PPE and industrial equipment companies across the globe
The online scheme targeting PPE, industrial and electronic equipment companies in Canada, the United States and Australia, has seen the suspects impersonating various commercial companies, including “Clean Harbors”, a large North American environmental, energy and industrial service provider. The suspects would then contact various suppliers using altered emails, the names of associated company executives and illegally obtained credit reference information to fraudulently obtain shipments of various equipment including the highly sought-after N95 masks. The equipment was then shipped to warehouses across Canada and the United States by the suspects, who are believed to be operating from Nigeria and London, UK.
It is alleged that the suspects would then coordinate an online pick-up from a courier company using compromised courier accounts, and have the shipment delivered to England, where it was then moved to companies with exporting connections to Nigeria.
“Many companies around the world are dealing with various challenges right now just trying to financially stay afloat during this pandemic,” stated Det. Jason Lapointe, of the EPS Economic Crimes Section. “Then they find themselves under attack by criminals from abroad that are attempting to fraudulently acquire various equipment, including PPE, destined to help those who are in desperate need of it. It’s unconscionable really.”
In mid-March, ECS investigators received information that a Leduc company had been targeted. The local electronics company had received a purchase order worth approximately $18,000 for two-way radios. The order was initially placed by email through Clean Harbors, a vendor known to the local company through previous business transactions.
It was reported to police that the Leduc equipment company then received a subsequent email supposedly from Clean Harbors requesting that the shipment of two-way radios be re-directed to a location in Calgary. Representatives with the local company became suspicious and contacted Clean Harbors to clarify the situation, which confirmed their suspicions that they were being defrauded by someone impersonating an executive with Clean Harbors. As a result, representatives from the Leduc company were able to stop the shipment from being delivered.
In early April, an Edmonton telecommunications equipment supplier fell victim to this scam after a shipment of equipment worth $170,000 was sent to a storage facility in the UK. EPS Economic Crimes Section prevented another $130,000 shipment of equipment made by this same Edmonton company from reaching its final destination, after it was located at a shipment center in Ontario
As an example of this scam’s impact on the current COVID-19 crisis, these same suspects placed orders through two Canadian corporations situated in Quebec and B.C. for $100,000 worth of personal respirators and replacement N95 3M filters. These shipments were located at separate loading facilities, and EPS Economic Crimes Section investigators facilitated the return of these shipments to the respective companies.
The EPS Economic Crimes Section is urging businesses to remain vigilant when dealing with potential clients online.
Read more on Todayville Edmonton.
Assault prime suspect in Edmonton’s spike in violent crime
Edmonton seeing spike in violent assaults
Police are seeing a 27% increase in violence compared to Edmonton’s three-year average, driven largely by an increase in serious, violent assaults, including an 88% increase in assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm.
The Edmonton Police Service uses several indicators to measure crime across the city, such as violence, disorder and property crimes. Violence indicators include assault, robbery, sexual assault and homicide.
In July 2020, the Edmonton Police Service saw a 25% increase in violence indicators over July 2019. The July 2020 violence indicators saw an increase of 27% compared to the three-year average (July 2017-2019).
Of these indicators, assault was the main driver of the increase. More specifically, the category of assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm increased by 56% and aggravated assault increased by 43% in July 2020 over July 2019. Compared to the July three-year average (2017-2019), assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm increased 88% in July 2020, while aggravated assault increased 34% in July 2020.
Percent change: 2020 compared to 2019
|Assault – Aggravated||+36%||+16%||-19%||+3%||+43%|
|Assault – Bodily harm/weapon||+12%||+0.6%||+17%||+30%||+56%|
Percent change: 2020 compared to 3-year average (2017-2019)
|Assault – Aggravated||+55%||+34%||+21%||+48%||+34%|
|Assault – Bodily harm/weapon||+15%||+9%||+35%||+35%||+88%|
Since July 11, 2020, there have been eight suspicious deaths in Edmonton, five of which have been confirmed as homicides. August 6, 2020 was a particularly violent day for Edmonton, with two new death investigations opened by the Homicide Section. A violent, random assault also occurred at 98 Avenue and 104 Street at about 7:45 pm last night, when a male reportedly approached a female who was waiting in the passenger side of a parked vehicle, asked for money, and then stabbed her multiple times. She was taken to hospital with serious non-life-threatening injuries. A 20-year-old male was taken into custody and is facing charges including aggravated assault, robbery, and possession of offensive weapon.
“While it’s difficult to speculate on why this is occurring, the increase in violent assaults is certainly concerning,” says Supt. Brad Doucette, with the EPS Criminal Investigations Division. “Especially when we see assaults with a weapon or causing bodily harm and aggravated assault on the rise – these are serious charges under the Criminal Code that are used when the victim’s life is put at risk.”
Serious assaults and calls for service involving weapons often require greater resources, including a larger officer response and more investigators. The EPS has pulled in resources from other investigative areas that remain stable or have seen decreases in workload in order to assist areas that are overtasked, such as Homicide Section.
Read more on Todayville.
Police charge 13 year old in shooting death of 10 year old Central Alberta boy
From Maskwacis RCMP
RCMP Major Crimes Unit lay Manslaughter charge against youth
The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old youth from Maskwacis following a death which was reported on August 5, 2020.
At 4:00 a.m., Maskwacis RCMP received a 911 call about a gunshot in a residence. Responding members, with EMS, located a 10-year-old boy deceased in the home. A youth who was present was taken into custody and the Major Crimes Unit was engaged to conduct the investigation.
Following an autopsy, the investigation led to a single charge of Manslaughter with a firearm was supported. The youth will be appearing in court on September 2, 2020 in Wetaskiwin. Neither the accused nor the victim will be named.
“Due to the nature of the circumstances surrounding this extremely tragic incident, including the delicate ages of the people involved, we won’t be providing further details” says Staff Sergeant Dwayne Moore, Acting Detachment Commander, Maskwacis RCMP. “Our focus is to continue to support the family and the community overall, which has been extremely impacted.”
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