Man charged with trafficking fraudulent transit passes
The Calgary Police Service has charged a man with allegedly creating and trafficking fraudulent transit passes following a year-long investigation that resulted in nine separate search warrants.
On June 28, 2017, the CPS was notified by Calgary Transit Peace Officers that they had seen an increasing number of high-quality, forged UPASS stickers being presented to them, which had reportedly been purchased online. UPASS stickers are transit passes which are available only to students of Calgary post-secondary institutions. Officers in the Online Stolen Property (OSP) Team located UPASS stickers for sale on an online classified and initiated an investigation to identify a suspect.
The suspect used a number of means to conceal his identity including using false names, different phone numbers and only sporadically posting ads online. In January 2018, a package containing 3,300 forged UPASS stickers, professionally printed in China and destined for the suspect, was intercepted by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The 3,300 stickers could have resulted in a loss of more than $1.3 million in revenue to Calgary Transit.
It is alleged that between May 2015 and January 2018, the suspect exchanged fraudulent UPASS stickers with Calgarians for a total of approximately $34,000.
As a result of the interception by CBSA officers, several search warrants were executed which resulted in a significant amount of digital evidence being obtained.
On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, David Philip SMERD, 31, of Calgary, was arrested and charged with one count each of making forged documents, fraud over $5,000 and uttering forged documents. SMERD will next appear in court on Monday, September 10, 2018.
Investigators would like to thank the members of Calgary Transit and Canada Border Services Agency for their assistance with this investigation.
A photo of a forged UPASS sticker is available on The City of Calgary Newsroom.