Charges in vehicle cloning investigation
The Calgary Police Service Auto Theft Resource Team (ATRT) has laid charges in a five-month-long investigation into a vehicle cloning and insurance fraud scheme totaling more than $625,000.
In June 2017, investigators from the ATRT discovered that a stolen Ford F-150 had been re-vinned twice and sold to an unsuspecting citizen, through Dave’s Auto Ltd., which operated out of Bri-Tech Autobody Ltd., located in the 4600 block of 6A Street N.E. It is believed that the re-vinning occurred by cloning the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a similar Ford F-150, which had previously been declared as salvage, and by creating a fraudulent VIN that didn’t previously exist.
Re-vinning is a common method used to disguise stolen vehicles.
As the investigation continued, investigators discovered another vehicle, a Toyota Rav4, which was also alleged to be stolen and had a cloned VIN attached to it. The stolen Rav4 was sold under this VIN to an unknowing citizen, who purchased the vehicle from an Alberta numbered company, which also operated out of Bri-Tech Autobody Ltd.
It is also alleged that both the F150 and Rav4 were involved in an insurance fraud scheme, in which past vehicle “owners” would make false reports of vandalism damage and theft to their insurance companies. It is believed that these vehicles were then taken to Bri-Tech Autobody Ltd., at which time Dave’s Autobody Ltd., would send fraudulent bills to insurance companies for repairs that were never conducted.
It is believed that the re-vinning and fraudulent damage claims occurred between August 2014 and June 2017, before both vehicles were recovered by CPS.
Investigators also discovered that between December 2016 and July 2017, five luxury vehicles were allegedly fraudulently registered to the same Alberta numbered company, including three BMWs, a Mercedes-Benz and a Range Rover. The vehicles were believed to be legitimately purchased in Edmonton and exported out of the country. When the vehicles were exported, it’s alleged that the Alberta numbered company then used the VINs of the exported vehicles to obtain fraudulent registration and licence plates. Two of the five fraudulently obtained licence plates and registrations were used to disguise two stolen luxury vehicles, which have since been recovered in Ontario.
The total fraud value for these offences is estimated at more than $625,000.
Baltej “Dave” DHALIWAL, 54, of Calgary, has since been charged with three counts of fraud over $5,000.
Investigators have worked closely with partners from the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC) and The City of Calgary Business Licensing and would like to thank them for their assistance with this file. The investigation remains ongoing.