In April 2020, the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit were contacted by members of the CBSA, in regards to an ongoing fraud investigation. CBSA had flagged the export of a 2018 Audi Q7 as suspicious and became aware that the same vehicle was being investigated by the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit in an ongoing auto finance fraud investigation.
Investigators discovered a number of other vehicles involved, many destined overseas. These exports were also flagged and investigators contacted authorities in Italy, where shipping containers carrying the suspect vehicles were on stopovers at two Italian ports in Salerno and Tauro. The final destination of the containers was supposed to be Libya and Turkey.
Through a collaborative effort, York Regional Police along with CBSA officers and the Italian National Police identified 40 vehicles that were obtained by fraud or stolen from York Region and the GTA. 30 of these crime vehicles were seized in the ports of Italy. Additionally, 10 vehicles that were also related to crime were seized by the CBSA before they could be exported from Canada. York Regional Police are working with the CBSA, Italian State Police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) to have the vehicles returned to Canada where they can be returned to their lawful owners.
The total value of vehicles seized in Italy was approximately $1.5 million dollars and the 10 vehicles seized in Canada were valued at over $300,000 dollars.