Update (December 3, 2020): Syed has been ordered to pay $36,000 in restitution in 10 days or he’ll be arrested and jailed for four months after being found in contempt of court. The penalty comes after Syed was found in contempt of court for failing to comply with an Ontario Superior Court of Justice order compelling him to turn all of the properties back into single-family residences. He also faces 17 fraud-related charges for allegedly using fake ID documents when he applied to rent the homes.
Markham (June 26, 2020) – The York Regional police laid charges against two suspects, Arif Adnan Syed of Markham and Hafsa Naseer of Mississauga, on June 22 as a result of a rental housing fraud investigation that started in April of this year. Police allege that the couple was subleasing rental apartments in Markham and Richmond Hill using fraudulent identification and without the permission of the homeowners. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the homeowners had been unable to evict the suspects or the occupants.
The York police arrested and charged Arif Adnan Syed (37) of Markham, Hafsa Naseer (25) of Mississauga for subleasing rental apartments without permission, according to a press release from June 25. The ongoing rental housing fraud investigation is led by York police’s Financial Crimes Unit.
The rental housing fraud
In April of this year, the police received information about a person in possession of fake identification documents. Investigators discovered that from December 2019 to June 2020 ‘luxury rental houses’ in Markham and Richmond Hill had been rented out using fraudulent identification, police said.
The suspects are accused of sub-leasing the properties as rooming houses without the permission of the actual homeowners. Police said that in some cases more than 20 people were residing in the homes and paying rent to the suspects.
The homeowners did not receive any rent payments according to the police. Moreover, after the homeowners found out, they had been unable to evict the suspects or the occupants due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Charges laid against a pair known to the police
The police arrested Syed and Naseer on June 22 as a result of the rental housing fraud investigation. They charged the couple with Fraud Over $5,000, two counts of Uttering Forged Document, and two counts of Identity Fraud.
Reportedly, the pair is already known to the police. Syed was convicted in connection with curbsiding regarding several auto body shops and with unfair practice while operating a moving company. 2018, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council warned against Syed and Naseer as they were ‘curbsiders’ operating under a non-registered dealer called Euro Premium Auto Ltd.
Curbsiders are illegal, unlicensed vehicle dealers, according to the Ontario Vehicle Sales Regulator. They often pose as private sellers, though some operate from small automotive businesses such as repair shops. Curbsiders not only misrepresent themselves – they often misrepresent the vehicles they sell: many are previous write-offs with undisclosed accident repairs or are odometer-tampered.
The police said that the investigation is ongoing and asked anyone with information to contact the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2486, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-tips.
Read more: Nova Scotia serial rent fraudster sentenced