On May 25, 2020, the Toronto Police Service Financial Crimes Unit made public the arrests made in an ‘advance fee scheme’ fraud investigation. In such schemes, perpetrators convince the victims to make advance or upfront payments for goods/services that are never delivered.
In this case, the criminals pretended to be from a law-firm allegedly helping the victims of fraudulent precious gem brokers. The criminals contacted the victims who had seemingly been defrauded by the gem brokers. Falsely promising huge cash settlements from their lawsuit, they convinced the victims to pay the ‘attorney fees’ in advance. As a result, victims have lost over $600,000 to this scheme.
The authorities have so far arrested two suspects, Erik Ariel Fishman of Vaughan and Joseph Simon Rassi of Aurora. The police have charged Fishman with Possession of Proceeds of Crime Over $5000. Additionally, they have charged Rassi with Fraud Over $5000 and Conspiracy to Commit and Indictable Offence Over $5000. The authorities believe that more people are involved in this scheme. They are requesting any other victims to open up about it to carry the investigation forward.