Four men — two from Quebec and two from Alberta — were arrested and appeared in provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday on charges related to a wave of identity theft across Newfoundland and Labrador.
The RCMP’s serious and organized crime unit in St. John's made the arrests following a three-week investigation.
The four accused are:
• Toussaint Yenga-Yenga, 26, of Calgary, charged with possession of property obtained by crime;
• Joseph Kalombo Ndonki, 46, of Longueuil, Que., charged with possession of false identity documents, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime, identity theft, fraud and failing to comply with recognizance;
• Doudou Kikewa Mpumudjie, 29, of Montreal, charged with possession of false identity documents, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime, identity theft, fraud and three counts of failing to comply with recognizance.
• Gustave Ngandu Kalombo, 23, of Edmonton, charged with two counts of possession of property obtained by crime.
A RCMP news release stated police officers seized stolen social insurance cards and fraudulent driver’s licences appearing to be from the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, as well as cash and gift cards totalling approximately $10,000.
The four men were believed to be travelling throughout the province and using the false identities to open fraudulent bank accounts, obtain cellular phone contracts and obtain other goods and services.
The investigation is continuing and further charges are likely, the RCMP stated.
The RCMP advises the public to be vigilant in protecting themselves against identity theft, which can then be used to facilitate other crimes, including fraud, typically for financial gain. Residents are encouraged to safeguard their personal information, shred bills and other documents with personal information prior to discarding them, be alert for offers that seem too good to be true and monitor financial accounts, as well as request a credit report annually.