A Canadian money laundering organization tied to real estate has been dismantled

Nov 25 2022, 4:03 pm

A major money laundering organization that is believed to have supported some of Canada’s most prominent crime organizations has been dismantled.

The revelation comes from an “unprecedented investigation” by Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) and the RCMP.

Seven suspects have been arrested and charged, including four from Vancouver and three from Calgary, as part of Project Collector.

Authorities say that in one year alone, investigators identified the transfer of $24 million in cash. In addition, a total of $16 million was tied to bank accounts, real estate holdings, and vehicles, all of which were placed under criminal restraint.

The group’s money laundering activities date back to “at least 2013.”

ALERT says that Project Collector began in July 2018 after $1 million in cash meant to be sent to Vancouver was intercepted in Calgary. At that point, ALERT and RCMP launched an extensive investigation that relied on intelligence from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

According to ALERT, the money laundering group operated “pseudo-bank branches.”

These branches held large cash reserves and allowed organized crime groups to utilize their service to transfer funds without alerting banking institutions and authorities.

ALERT says, “the money laundering was primarily connected back to drug trafficking proceeds.”

In total, 71 criminal offences are being pursued against the money laundering organization.

Those charges include participation in a criminal organization, laundering proceeds of crime, and trafficking property obtained by crime.

The arrests of the seven suspects took place in September of this year, and they are:

  • Lien Ha, 42-year-old from Calgary;
  • Donald Hoang, 26-year-old from Vancouver;
  • Van Duc Hoang, 64-year-old from Vancouver;
  • Van Thi Nguyen, 62-year-old from Vancouver;
  • Cynthia Nguyen, 42-year-old from Calgary;
  • Yuong Nguyen, 43-year-old from Calgary; and
  • Grace Tang, 25-year-old from Vancouver.

A full list of charges can be viewed here.

Project Collector involved the collaboration of police agencies and other groups, including Calgary Police, CRA, FINTRAC, FAMG, VPD, Toronto Police, Edmonton Police, Halton Police, and RCMP in Ontario and BC.

 

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