Some stories have it all: nefarious acts, last-minute betrayal, even a labyrinth of shadowy aliases.
Toronto police arrested nine people yesterday in connection with a moving-company scam in which clients’ possessions were locked in a truck while shady characters demanded extra charges—in some cases thousands of dollars—and then often dumped their stuff on the side of the road. The only thing missing here is a bald sociopath in a swivelling chair slowly stroking a cat.
The Sun reports:
Hooper told reporters the gang’s founder expanded operations with two sons, recruiting other relatives over several years—eventually accumulating up to $1 million a year in alleged revenues.
Browbeaten victims were forced to sign last-minute contracts, charged $500 to $2,500 more than originally quoted and, in many cases, were left with their contents unmoved “as the accused drove off,” Hooper said.
Apparently, one third of the victims were older, and many were new Canadians with poor English skills. If preying on the elderly and immigrants doesn’t rise to the highest level of douchebaggery, consider this quote from the alleged ringleader, run in the Star: “The main problem isn’t me, it’s the public. It doesn’t matter whatever you publish, people are so cheap… If I change my name today and put $2 less on the hourly rate, they will still come to me.”
Charming. It’s a shame the police didn’t cotton on to this earlier: they admit that they ignored many earlier reports because they sounded like civil, not criminal, disputes. What changed? We certainly can’t say, but CBC Radio was reporting yesterday that one of the victims of this scam was a police officer.
With a PR expert like the one quoted in the Star, we can’t wait to see the defence in court.
• Cops haul in moving-scam suspects [Toronto Sun]
• Toronto cops charge movers with fraud [CBC]
• Nine arrested in moving-company scheme [Globe and Mail]
• Police shut down moving company, arrest owners [Toronto Star]