A Burlington man is facing charges in connection with an alleged fraud targeting Syrian refugees.
Halton police say they have concluded a three-month long investigation into allegations that a Burlington resident has been defrauding Syrian refugees currently living in Qatar with promises of getting them sponsorship into Canada.
Police say a search warrant was executed on the suspect’s residence and the accused was arrested at that time.
Police say 49-year-old Bashar Abdulahad has been charged with eight counts of fraud over $5,000 dollars and money laundering.
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The allegations came to light through a community volunteer group in Toronto who had victims come to them through relatives now living in Canada.
“Working with this group and a contact in Qatar, police were able to identify eight victim families who had all sent funds to the suspect with total losses in excess of $200,000 dollars,” Halton police say.
“The police believe there are many more victims, however given the logistical issues of victims who are currently living overseas, officers have had to rely upon a local volunteer in the affected country to spread the word on the investigation and locate other victims. Given the victims’ current status, police believe some are reluctant to come forward.”
Police say the suspect claimed he could bring the victims into Canada through a local church under an immigration sponsorship program.
The church has cooperated with police and has no involvement in the fraud, police say.
Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police Service Fraud Unit, Det. Cst. Jon Williams at 905-825-4747 ext.8737.