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Toronto police say fraudsters stole $600K from victims by posing as lawyers settling class action lawsuit
A logo at the Toronto Police Services headquarters, in Toronto, on Friday, August 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Published Monday, May 25, 2020 2:15PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 25, 2020 2:26PM EDT
Toronto police say two men are facing charges after allegedly defrauding victims by posing as lawyers attempting to settle a class action lawsuit.
Police allege the suspects contacted victims who they believed had been defrauded after investing in diamonds and gemstones.
The suspects, police say, purported to work at a law firm and claimed they were settling a class action lawsuit against “fraudulent precious gem brokers.”
According to investigators, the men promised to provide large cash settlements to the victims if they provided “attorney fees” in advance.
Police say claims made about the lawsuit were false and victims were bilked out of a combined $600,000.
Investigators allege that the men claimed to represent Ardern & Bennett LLP and Premier Credit Union and used a number of aliases, including Paul Bennett, David Ardern, James Greenstein, and James Adelman.
Police say Ariel Fishman, a 40-year-old Vaughan resident, has been arrested in connection with the fraud investigation and is facing two counts of possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000.
A second suspect, identified by police as 32-year-old Aurora resident Joseph Simon Rassi, has been charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence over $5,000.
Both men are scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall in July.
Police say evidence collected during the execution search warrants indicates that there are additional victims who have not yet come forward.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the Toronto Police Service’s financial crimes unit.