Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

May 22, 2009 11:59 ET

Brampton Man Found Guilty in Secret Shoppers Scam

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 22, 2009) - The Competition Bureau announced today that Lookman Temidayo Adegbola has been found guilty of operating an employment opportunity scam involving counterfeit cheques.

"Scams involving counterfeit cheques have become one of the most prevalent type of frauds in North America," said Andrea Rosen, Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "We are working with our partners to promote confidence in the marketplace. These scams are a particular concern since they target unemployed people anxious to earn money in the current economic climate."

The victims, located in the United States, were led to believe they had been hired as secret shoppers to evaluate the services of MoneyGram, an international money transfer service. They were provided with cheques and instructed to deposit them in their own accounts, then withdraw the money and wire it to Canada under the pretext of assessing the customer service provided by the money transfer outlet.

The cheques were subsequently identified as counterfeit. When the banks reversed the counterfeit deposits, the victims were left liable for the money withdrawn. Victims reported losses ranging from $2,400 (USD) to $9,000 (USD) each.

Following a trial by judge and jury in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Adegbola, 33, was found guilty of a number of offences pursuant to the Criminal Code: fraud over $5000; forgery; possession of instruments of forgery; and uttering forged documents. Sentencing for Adegbola will take place on September 15, 2009.

A Bureau investigation, conducted with the assistance of the Toronto Strategic Partnership, was launched after the Bureau received a number of complaints from victims in the United States. The investigation led to the arrest of Adegbola on August 22, 2007.

Bureau officers seized approximately 600 counterfeit cheques totalling over $1 million (USD) during a search of Adegbola's residence in Brampton, Ontario. These cheques were made out to unsuspecting victims and were intended to be mailed.

The Toronto Strategic Partnership, formed to combat cross-border mass marketing fraud, consists of the Competition Bureau, the Toronto Police Service Mass Marketing Fraud Unit, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch, the RCMP-GTA Commercial Crime Section, the Ontario Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services, the Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre (PhoneBusters), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.K. Office of Fair Trading.

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

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