Mississauga man charged with fraud in alleged romance scams, victims out $370K

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A 34-year-old Mississauga man has been charged with six counts of fraud in connection with romance scams that saw multiple victims collectively lose around $370,000, Halton Regional Police officers allege.

According to a statement issued by the service Friday afternoon, officers with the service’s fraud unit began their investigation in January 2019 after an Oakville resident reported they handed over around $70,000.

The statement said after a “lengthy investigation,” several other people across Canada were identified as being scammed. Police said the accused was later identified.

“The suspect would initiate and maintain contact with his victims through email and text, establish trust through this remote relationship, and convince them to transfer funds,” investigators alleged.

They went on to say the accused targeted older adults and used different aliases, bringing the total losses into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Officers said the suspect used the aliases of Dante Leonardo, Sean Bruno and Jason Roberto. They also released two pictures that were used “in creating these false dating profiles accompanying these aliases.”

Police said the suspect was arrested on March 17.

Toju Ariri was charged and will appear before a judge at a future date. The charges against the accused haven’t been proved in court.

Meanwhile, officers said there are concerns other people might have been targeted.

Anyone with information was encouraged to call investigators at 905-825-4747 ext. 8741.

This article was originally sourced by www.toronto.citynews.ca.