Calgary, AB,

Calgary man charged in automotive supply fraud scheme

After a lengthy investigation, our officers have charged one Calgary man who is believed to be responsible for defrauding seven local automotive suppliers while posing as employees from client businesses.

After the client businesses received invoices for the fraudulently ordered items, they brought these invoices to the attention of the victim automotive suppliers who then contacted police and an investigation began.

Between January and August of this year, it is believed the suspect contacted seven automotive supply businesses and placed numerous orders for vehicle tires, welding equipment, tire-changing and wheel-balancing machines, as well as other items, costing the businesses approximately $60,000. All purchases were made by the suspect posing as an employee of a client business and invoicing the equipment. The suspect also fraudulently rented vehicles that were used to pick up the merchandise.

After months of gathering evidence, the suspect was arrested on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022.

As a result, Michael Tolentino DELA CRUZ, 50, is charged with six counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of fraud under $5,000. DELA CRUZ was also found to be in possession of various personal identification information belonging to 15 different people, resulting in him also being charged with identity theft. He also had 10 outstanding warrants for unrelated offences.

DELA CRUZ is scheduled to next appear in court on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.

The Calgary Police Service reminds all businesses to engage in detailed conversations with clients over the phone, including verifying company contact information and following up on requests by contacting the client business directly to confirm details. If the client cannot answer basic verification questions, it could be a sign of a scam.

Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact police by calling 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

·         TALK: 1-800-222-8477

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·         APP: P3 Tips