Tag Archive: points

Indian police uncover fake Canadian visa scam

November 6, 2009
fake visascam
Anil Kumar allegedly heads a ring that may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000.
TORONTO STAR/NEW DELHI POLICE
New Delhi – Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.
The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.
The Star has learned Indian police have made three arrests in New Delhi and two more in Punjab, charging five men with making false documents, passing fake documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Police are still searching for at least three others.
The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital city.
Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar – who has at least three aliases – may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.
“People in Punjab are so desperate to get to Canada for work, that’s why they fall into this,” New Delhi police sub-inspector M.P.
Saini said.
Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.
“This latest one is big,” said a Western diplomat familiar with the Kumar case. “It’s a huge ball of yarn. We keep unwinding it and finding more leads to more victims and more crooks.”
New Delhi police said they learned about Kumar’s alleged criminal operation on Oct. 13 when a 22-year-old Punjabi man named Sukhdeep Singh filed a complaint, saying that he and three relatives had been fleeced out of $32,000.
In late August, Singh went to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to apply for a visa to Canada. He said a man named Sandeep Kaul approached him on the street outside the high commission and told him he could guarantee Singh a visa for
$16,000.
Singh and three relatives paid Kaul a collective $32,000 – half his asking price of $64,000 – in advance. A day later, Kaul filed
visa applications on behalf of Singh and his relative. When an immigration agent denied those applications, Kaul put Singh and the others in contact with Kumar, the scam’s alleged ringleader in Punjab.
Singh and his relatives were later told Kumar has secured visas for each of them as promised and, indeed, they were given their passports with what appeared to be visas. But Singh learned the visas were fake after taking them to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh to confirm their authenticity.
Instead of paying the remaining $32,000, Singh called police, who set up a sting operation.
Kaul and two other Delhi men, Jassi Khassria and Lakhander Singh, were arrested in New Delhi near the Nehru Park metro station as they waited, police say, for Singh to show up with their money.
Police raided Kaul’s apartment and discovered an embossing machine, colour photocopier, fake income tax returns and school records – one document the Star reviewed was an “Employemant Agreement” with an Alberta company called “IS2 Staffing Services” – that probably would have been used to try to obtain visas.
Police continue to hunt for Kumar.
Roughly 30 visa applications have been linked to Kumar, who used the same mobile phone number as a contact on various applications.
Kaul and the other men have not yet had bail hearings or submitted their pleas.
Their next court appearance is Nov. 14. The five are being held at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and face at least seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Indian police uncover fake Canadian visa scam

November 6, 2009
fake visascam
Anil Kumar allegedly heads a ring that may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000.
TORONTO STAR/NEW DELHI POLICE
New Delhi – Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.
The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.
The Star has learned Indian police have made three arrests in New Delhi and two more in Punjab, charging five men with making false documents, passing fake documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Police are still searching for at least three others.
The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital city.
Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar – who has at least three aliases – may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.
“People in Punjab are so desperate to get to Canada for work, that’s why they fall into this,” New Delhi police sub-inspector M.P.
Saini said.
Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.
“This latest one is big,” said a Western diplomat familiar with the Kumar case. “It’s a huge ball of yarn. We keep unwinding it and finding more leads to more victims and more crooks.”
New Delhi police said they learned about Kumar’s alleged criminal operation on Oct. 13 when a 22-year-old Punjabi man named Sukhdeep Singh filed a complaint, saying that he and three relatives had been fleeced out of $32,000.
In late August, Singh went to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to apply for a visa to Canada. He said a man named Sandeep Kaul approached him on the street outside the high commission and told him he could guarantee Singh a visa for
$16,000.
Singh and three relatives paid Kaul a collective $32,000 – half his asking price of $64,000 – in advance. A day later, Kaul filed
visa applications on behalf of Singh and his relative. When an immigration agent denied those applications, Kaul put Singh and the others in contact with Kumar, the scam’s alleged ringleader in Punjab.
Singh and his relatives were later told Kumar has secured visas for each of them as promised and, indeed, they were given their passports with what appeared to be visas. But Singh learned the visas were fake after taking them to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh to confirm their authenticity.
Instead of paying the remaining $32,000, Singh called police, who set up a sting operation.
Kaul and two other Delhi men, Jassi Khassria and Lakhander Singh, were arrested in New Delhi near the Nehru Park metro station as they waited, police say, for Singh to show up with their money.
Police raided Kaul’s apartment and discovered an embossing machine, colour photocopier, fake income tax returns and school records – one document the Star reviewed was an “Employemant Agreement” with an Alberta company called “IS2 Staffing Services” – that probably would have been used to try to obtain visas.
Police continue to hunt for Kumar.
Roughly 30 visa applications have been linked to Kumar, who used the same mobile phone number as a contact on various applications.
Kaul and the other men have not yet had bail hearings or submitted their pleas.
Their next court appearance is Nov. 14. The five are being held at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and face at least seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Indian police uncover fake Canadian visa scam

November 6, 2009
fake visascam
Anil Kumar allegedly heads a ring that may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000.
TORONTO STAR/NEW DELHI POLICE
New Delhi – Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.
The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.
The Star has learned Indian police have made three arrests in New Delhi and two more in Punjab, charging five men with making false documents, passing fake documents as genuine and criminal conspiracy. Police are still searching for at least three others.
The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab’s capital city.
Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar – who has at least three aliases – may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.
“People in Punjab are so desperate to get to Canada for work, that’s why they fall into this,” New Delhi police sub-inspector M.P.
Saini said.
Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.
“This latest one is big,” said a Western diplomat familiar with the Kumar case. “It’s a huge ball of yarn. We keep unwinding it and finding more leads to more victims and more crooks.”
New Delhi police said they learned about Kumar’s alleged criminal operation on Oct. 13 when a 22-year-old Punjabi man named Sukhdeep Singh filed a complaint, saying that he and three relatives had been fleeced out of $32,000.
In late August, Singh went to the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi to apply for a visa to Canada. He said a man named Sandeep Kaul approached him on the street outside the high commission and told him he could guarantee Singh a visa for
$16,000.
Singh and three relatives paid Kaul a collective $32,000 – half his asking price of $64,000 – in advance. A day later, Kaul filed
visa applications on behalf of Singh and his relative. When an immigration agent denied those applications, Kaul put Singh and the others in contact with Kumar, the scam’s alleged ringleader in Punjab.
Singh and his relatives were later told Kumar has secured visas for each of them as promised and, indeed, they were given their passports with what appeared to be visas. But Singh learned the visas were fake after taking them to the Canadian mission in Chandigarh to confirm their authenticity.
Instead of paying the remaining $32,000, Singh called police, who set up a sting operation.
Kaul and two other Delhi men, Jassi Khassria and Lakhander Singh, were arrested in New Delhi near the Nehru Park metro station as they waited, police say, for Singh to show up with their money.
Police raided Kaul’s apartment and discovered an embossing machine, colour photocopier, fake income tax returns and school records – one document the Star reviewed was an “Employemant Agreement” with an Alberta company called “IS2 Staffing Services” – that probably would have been used to try to obtain visas.
Police continue to hunt for Kumar.
Roughly 30 visa applications have been linked to Kumar, who used the same mobile phone number as a contact on various applications.
Kaul and the other men have not yet had bail hearings or submitted their pleas.
Their next court appearance is Nov. 14. The five are being held at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and face at least seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Linens 'N Things Resurrected (In Canada)

October 23, 2009

In today’s marketplace, going out of business doesn’t mean you go away forever. Your storefronts may disappear, but you’ll just pop up again online—like CompUSA and Circuit City—or you’ll come back on someone else’s shelves as a brand, like Linens ‘N Things.

The company announced in a press release last week that it’s signed a 6 year deal with Home Outfitters, a home goods retailer in Canada:

…under [the agreement] a special line of Linens ‘N Things branded home goods will be produced and exclusively sold at Home Outfitters in Canada. The agreement, which includes a broad range of bed and bath, home decor as well as seasonal products, extends through 2016.

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War looms as Taliban surge rocks Pakistan

October 14, 2009

Lahore, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD–Pakistan is moving ever closer to a bloody confrontation with the Taliban, which is teaming up with ethnic rivals in a bold series of attacks in the country’s crowded cities.

Militants from the heart of Pakistan joined forces with Taliban insurgents from the remote Afghan border region to carry out the audacious weekend assault on army headquarters, the army said Monday – an ominous development as the fourth major attack in just over a week killed 41 people at a northwestern market.

But the military said the spate of attacks will not deter its plans for a new offensive against the insurgent bastion of South Waziristan.

The prospect of militant networks from across Pakistan cooperating more closely could complicate a planned offensive against the Taliban in their northwest stronghold, a push seen as vital to the success of the faltering U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.

New details about the alleged leader of the 22-hour attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi, some 15 kilometres from the Pakistani capital, underscored the bonds among the groups. Officials said Mohammad Aqeel, a former member of the army medical corps, had ties to the Taliban as well as two Al Qaeda-linked militant groups in Punjab, Pakistan’s dominant and most populous province.

Just weeks ago, there were hints of optimism in the battle against Pakistan’s Islamist insurgents. The military said it had routed the Taliban from the verdant Swat Valley. A CIA missile had killed the Pakistani Taliban’s chief – so shaking the group, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials said, that his likely successor was killed in a duel for the top spot. Bombings slowed.

But that successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, is alive, a military spokesman said Monday. And as a spate of grisly attacks during the past week has proven, so is the Taliban.

“They have been able to regroup, and they now feel confident to take on the Pakistani state in the cities,” said Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a professor and security analyst in Lahore. “They want to demonstrate that they have the initiative in their hands, rather than Pakistani authorities. So it’s a real kind of war.”

Pakistani military officials said they would not be deterred by the insurgents’ new show of force.

Pakistan’s air force has been pounding South Waziristan in the last day, a prelude to a possible ground campaign, military officials said. Hundreds are reported to have fled in expectation of an attack. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the South Waziristan offensive will proceed whenever the army decides to launch it.

The Punjab connection is significant because it means the Taliban may be spreading their influence beyond their traditional base of ethnic Pashtuns in tribal areas on both sides of the Afghan border. Ethnic Punjabis, by contrast, dominate the army and the major institutions of the Pakistani state. Al Qaeda is primarily Arab.

The Taliban said their Punjab faction carried out the attack in that province – the first time they had referred to such an outfit – and vowed to activate cells outside the Pashtun heartland of the lawless frontier region.

“This was our first small effort and a present to the Pakistani and American governments,” Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said. Tariq said the group was seeking vengeance for the killing of its leader in a CIA drone strike.

Monday’s suicide blast took place in Shangla, a Pashto-speaking area of the Swat Valley. The attacker was targeting a military vehicle, but most of the victims were civilians.

Punjabi militant groups have long existed, but in the past, they were nurtured by intelligence agencies to focus their attacks on Pakistan’s archrival, India. Their alliance with the Pashtun-dominated Taliban indicates they are now “up for hire” and represent yet another foe, military analyst Shuja Nawaz said.

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War looms as Taliban surge rocks Pakistan

October 14, 2009

Lahore, Pakistan

ISLAMABAD–Pakistan is moving ever closer to a bloody confrontation with the Taliban, which is teaming up with ethnic rivals in a bold series of attacks in the country’s crowded cities.

Militants from the heart of Pakistan joined forces with Taliban insurgents from the remote Afghan border region to carry out the audacious weekend assault on army headquarters, the army said Monday – an ominous development as the fourth major attack in just over a week killed 41 people at a northwestern market.

But the military said the spate of attacks will not deter its plans for a new offensive against the insurgent bastion of South Waziristan.

The prospect of militant networks from across Pakistan cooperating more closely could complicate a planned offensive against the Taliban in their northwest stronghold, a push seen as vital to the success of the faltering U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.

New details about the alleged leader of the 22-hour attack on army headquarters in Rawalpindi, some 15 kilometres from the Pakistani capital, underscored the bonds among the groups. Officials said Mohammad Aqeel, a former member of the army medical corps, had ties to the Taliban as well as two Al Qaeda-linked militant groups in Punjab, Pakistan’s dominant and most populous province.

Just weeks ago, there were hints of optimism in the battle against Pakistan’s Islamist insurgents. The military said it had routed the Taliban from the verdant Swat Valley. A CIA missile had killed the Pakistani Taliban’s chief – so shaking the group, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officials said, that his likely successor was killed in a duel for the top spot. Bombings slowed.

But that successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, is alive, a military spokesman said Monday. And as a spate of grisly attacks during the past week has proven, so is the Taliban.

“They have been able to regroup, and they now feel confident to take on the Pakistani state in the cities,” said Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a professor and security analyst in Lahore. “They want to demonstrate that they have the initiative in their hands, rather than Pakistani authorities. So it’s a real kind of war.”

Pakistani military officials said they would not be deterred by the insurgents’ new show of force.

Pakistan’s air force has been pounding South Waziristan in the last day, a prelude to a possible ground campaign, military officials said. Hundreds are reported to have fled in expectation of an attack. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said the South Waziristan offensive will proceed whenever the army decides to launch it.

The Punjab connection is significant because it means the Taliban may be spreading their influence beyond their traditional base of ethnic Pashtuns in tribal areas on both sides of the Afghan border. Ethnic Punjabis, by contrast, dominate the army and the major institutions of the Pakistani state. Al Qaeda is primarily Arab.

The Taliban said their Punjab faction carried out the attack in that province – the first time they had referred to such an outfit – and vowed to activate cells outside the Pashtun heartland of the lawless frontier region.

“This was our first small effort and a present to the Pakistani and American governments,” Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said. Tariq said the group was seeking vengeance for the killing of its leader in a CIA drone strike.

Monday’s suicide blast took place in Shangla, a Pashto-speaking area of the Swat Valley. The attacker was targeting a military vehicle, but most of the victims were civilians.

Punjabi militant groups have long existed, but in the past, they were nurtured by intelligence agencies to focus their attacks on Pakistan’s archrival, India. Their alliance with the Pashtun-dominated Taliban indicates they are now “up for hire” and represent yet another foe, military analyst Shuja Nawaz said.

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