Saturday, January 17, 2009

Five more arrested in debit card ring - - 12 Jan 09

Durham Region police arrested five more men yesterday in connection with a debit card skimming ring that has been operating in the Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal areas, police said today.

Durham police began their investigation in late November after receiving a tip from a Whitby gas station about debit card skimming.

Det. Jeff Caplan said the accused would replace the pads on debit card terminals with their own devices, which let them capture the debit card data. They would then forge their own cards and use them.

"In this group's case, they use Wal-Mart gift cards and re-encode them with the stolen data," said Caplan.

On Nov. 30, police converged on a local hotel room and arrested seven men. A warrant was issued for an eighth, Vigitharan Selvaraj of Toronto.

At the bail hearing Dec. 3, five more suspects — who attended court to support the seven accused — were also arrested.

The arrests this weekend resulted from efforts to track down Selvaraj. After staking out a Bridlegrove Dr. address in Toronto, police executed a search warrant and recovered more than $10,000 in cash, hundreds of forged debit cards, laptop computers and machines used to read and write credit cards.

Selvaraj, 21, Pararajasingam Ampalavanar, 38, Srimylan Srivigneswaran, 20, and Janarthanan Ratnasingham, 27, all of Toronto and Prasad Thiruchelvam, 27, of Markham face a total of 44 charges, including fraud over $5,000, unlawful use of credit card data, use of a credit card obtained by crime, forgery of a credit card and possession of a credit card forgery device.

By Alex Cooper

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