Police arrested nine people and seized more than a dozen trucks Thursday after a two-month investigation into a moving company accused of bilking customers out of their hard-earned cash.
Early Thursday morning, officers from 55 Division raided properties near Kennedy Rd. and Eglinton Ave., bringing in eight men and one woman as well as 13 moving trucks, $20,000 in cash and an Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
The investigation, dubbed Project Overhaul, began in late March after police received complaints from the public about being scammed by moving companies operating under several different names.
Police say they were part of a crime ring started by a father and his two sons that dated back to 2002.
Customers said the movers would increase the quoted price halfway through the job and threaten to hold their belongings or leave them on the sidewalk.
One victim, Trudy Fraser, says she found what looked like a legitimate moving company online, agreed to pay $45 an hour, and signed a contract without reading the fine print.
Within a couple of hours, the movers reportedly inflated the price to $1,173 and – when Fraser refused to pay – dumped her belongings on the front lawn and left.
“Don’t pay a cash deposit. You should know clearly if there are any extra charges. And be nervous if it’s inexpensive.”
The accused face a total of 160 criminal charges including fraud, extortion and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
They are Syed Altaf Hussain, 57, Syed Amit Monwar Hussain, 29, Clyde Alen Muffty, 34, Scott Paul Slater, 31, Vanessa Longhurst, 38, Joseph Lima, 22, and Syed Tamim Rejw Hussain, 25, and Jimmy Roland Veilleux, 35, of Toronto, and Arif Adnan Syed, 27, of Markham.
The moving companies involved are:
- Indo-Pak Movers
- Desi Movers
- Supreme Movers
- Comfortable Movers
- Dynamic Movers
- Dynamite Movers
- Elizabeth Movers
- Pacific Van Line Moving Inc.
- Master Movers
- A1 Express Movers
- Xpress Movers