Toronto, Ontario — Toronto Police have revealed that Service Ontario employees were involved in a suspected auto theft ring, and hundreds of people have had their data trafficked as a result.
On Wednesday, Toronto police said that the auto-theft investigation “Project Safari”—originally launched in February revealed that auto theft suspects were conspiring with employees at Service Ontario, who trafficked driving and vehicle data taken from the Ministry of Transportation’s database.
Service Ontario employees would provide the accused with vehicle and driver information, including addresses, and then vehicles would be stolen, police said.
The Service Ontario employees would then also provide fraudulent vehicle information numbers (VIN) and registrations, with the fraudulent VIN then being placed on the stolen vehicle and linked with the fraudulent registration.
The vehicles were then sold in Canada to unsuspecting buyers or were used to commit other crimes, police further revealed.
Twenty-five search warrants were executed between July and October at Service Ontario branches, homes, commercial garages and personal vehicles.
“Investigators located and recovered several stolen and re-vined vehicles in addition to equipment, tools and electronics utilized by the accused to facilitate the theft of motor vehicles,” police said. “The search warrants also revealed that the number of people who had their data trafficked by the accused numbered in the hundreds.”
Around $1.5 million in alleged crime profits were also seized, including several luxury vehicles and hundreds of thousands in cash.
Seven suspects have been arrested and 73 charges have been laid so far.