An Oakville resident, aged 58, has found himself embroiled in accusations of operating a fraudulent magazine for over a decade, a scheme alleged to have solicited in excess of $1 million. In acquiring such sums, the accused habitually made cold calls to businesses across Ontario.
Distressed by this revelation, Navid, a certified Mortgage specialist located in Toronto, voiced his disappointment to CTV News Toronto Tuesday. For a number of years, Navid had been purchasing ad placements in the purported publication titled ‘Ontario Police Public Safety News’. He lamented, “All that money, I could have spent on something real, something that would help.” For his protection, Navid’s last name was not disclosed.
The first contact Navid had with the accused dates back to 2016. An unidentified caller from ‘Ontario Police’ offered to market Navid’s business in their magazine. Newly self-appointed as a mortgage specialist, Navid seized the chance to promote his services throughout Toronto. Additionally, he was informed that a portion of his payment would be designated to community youth programs.
Initially, the call entailed a request for an ad and a business card from Navid, culminating in a pickup setup for a cheque of a little more than $150. However, as Navid disclosed, despite his multiple requests, he never received a physical copy of the magazine. Moreover, the frequency of their calls increased, accompanied by demands for larger payments. Navid admitted that although he entertained doubts about the validity of the operation, the supposed affiliation to a police service propelled him to maintain his contribution.
Over a four-year span, Navid remitted upwards of $500 to the accused – under the impression he was renewing his ad status – and he was far from alone.
In an astonishing revelation, Azher Hyder was taken into custody by the Toronto police this Monday and indicted with one count of fraud over $5,000. The police account echoed Navid’s experience, detailing how Hyder would assert to business owners that the publication was widely distributed across the province to sell ads and garner solicitations. It has also been reported that Hyder alluded to a non-existent community youth program where contributions supposedly landed.
Further information was obtained on Tuesday from a detective with the Toronto police, who stated Hyder allegedly amassed more than $1 million in small amounts from numerous victims between 2011 and 2023. TPS Dct. Cst. Sean Vandecamp stated, “The accused would cold call [businesses] throughout the province and solicit donations,” confirming, the investigation revealed a significant number of victims.”
The detective added that although some early editions of the magazine exist physically, no latest copies are available and the magazine was never extensively circulated.
Law enforcement is on the lookout for any potential victims who have yet to step forward, encouraging anyone who thinks they might have been scammed to reach out to a designated email address, promising prompt contact from an investigator. The alleged scam involved trickery and deceit, targeting unsuspecting clients and promising them advertising services that were never truly realized.