A 33-year-old Mississauga man has been charged after allegedly defrauding a charitable organization of $94,000.
According to Peel Regional Police (PRP), a contractor was hired by the Good Shephard to do some work and invoiced them in the winter months of 2023.
The organization, which assists people experiencing homeless and those at risk of it, was advised to send outstanding payments of more than $94,000 to a new bank account.
Police were contacted once the organization learned that the funds were not received by the appropriate contractor.
This type of fraud is known as spear phishing. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said typically scammers pretend to be from legitimate sources to convince businesses or individuals to send them money. They leverage existing relationships between the person receiving the email and the person sending it. The sender's address appears to be the actual email address of the source they're pretending to be, a tactic known as “spoofing.”
In an Oct. 3 news release, PRP said that the contractor involved in this scam unknowingly had their business email compromised and the scammer altered it to look similar to the contractor’s email correct address.
Following an investigation, 33-year-old Emmanuel Pobee of Mississauga was arrested last Friday and charged with possession of property obtained by crime.
He is set to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice “at a later date,” PRP said.
“Peel Regional Police remind all employers to be vigilant with examining changes to payments, account numbers and confirming the identity of those in charge of receiving those payments,” they said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at 905-453–2121, ext. 3335, or Peel Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or peelcrimestoppers.ca.