Toronto woman posed as man to defraud millions in romance scam: Cops

Investigators are concerned there may be more alleged victims in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta

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A money-laundering investigation led Toronto Police to uncover an alleged romance scam plot that defrauded victims of millions of dollars.

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The investigation began in September after members of the TPS Financial Crimes unit began investigating allegations that a British Columbia resident was laundering money in the Toronto area.

Police determined the accused had posed as a man and sought out and befriended women on both online dating sites and social media.

Soon after the accused entered into a ‘relationship’ with the victim, the request to borrow money began, cops allege. Stories told to the victims ranged from claims the ‘man’ was working overseas and had his passport confiscated, a work-related accident requiring the payment of large fees, or requests to pay customs or brokerage charges.

Large sums were often requested with promises of prompt paybacks, then victims who did pay up were often hit with requests for even more money.

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Cops allege the accused also levelled threats against victims who were apprehensive.

On Sept. 22, police arrested 69-year-old Aleth Duell, of Toronto, charging her with fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

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Police also said Duell owned a number of business accounts, including Altomson International LLC, Altombrand Global Services Inc., Celestial Dance Workout Corp., Laperrie Consultant Services, and High Energy Hangout LLC.

Investigators are concerned there may be more alleged victims in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta.

Anyone with information should call police at 416-808-7328, or leave an anonymous tip via Crime Stoppers.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter:   @bryanpassifiume

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