A 58-year-old Oakville man accused of operating a fraudulent magazine for more than a decade allegedly solicited more than $1 million in just over a decade, often by placing cold calls to local businesses throughout Ontario.
“It’s not a good feeling,” Navid, a certified Mortgage specialist in the Toronto area, who purchased ad placements in the purported publication, titled ‘Ontario Police Public Safety News,' for several years, told CTV News Toronto Tuesday.
“All that money, I could have spent on something real, something that would help," he said.
CTV News Toronto has withheld Navid's surname in an effort to protect his identity.
It was 2016 when Navid said he first received a phone call with an ID that read ‘Ontario police.'
When he picked up, he was offered the opportunity to market his business in the publication. Having just become a mortgage specialist, he said he jumped on the opportunity to market his services in the Toronto Area – plus, the publication told him that a portion of his money would be donated to community youth programs, he said.
The person on the other end of the call asked for an advertisement and a business card from Navid, before organizing a time to pick up a cheque for just over $150, he said.
Navid says he never saw a physical copy of the publication, despite requesting one be sent to him, and that the company became increasingly demanding, upping the frequencies of their calls and asking for larger sums. At times, he said he entertained suspicions about the validity of the project, but that, because he believed it to be associated with a police service, he felt inclined to continue his support.
“They were asking for more and more, but I thought they were the Ontario police, and I felt too shy to say no, to stop the calls,” he said.
Over the course of about four years, Navid sent just over $500 to the company, thinking he was renewing his advertisement status – and allegedly, he wasn’t the only one.