62 charged for trafficking, using fake Metropasses
“Is it worth it?” That’s the question the TTC and Toronto Police conveyed to the public at a news conference on Feb. 12 after announcing that 62 people are facing 196 criminal charges for trafficking and attempting to use counterfeit Metropasses.
TTC Investigative Services and the TPS Transit Patrol Unit announced charges ranging from fraud under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and uttering forged documents. The four-month investigation was assisted by tips from observant bus and streetcar Operators, Station Collectors, and routine fare enforcement activities by Transit Enforcement Officers, said Special Investigations Staff Sergeant Mark Russell.
“These 62 people that are facing charges are all before the courts, paying for lawyers and they’ve been fingerprinted and photographed, all for trying to save a few dollars,” he said.
The magnetic swipe feature on the back of the Metropass has never been compromised so a sure way to identify an authentic pass is if it activates an automatic turnstile. But before someone considers purchasing a Metropass from a source other than the TTC or an authorized Fare Media Seller in Toronto they should ask themselves if it’s really worth the price, Russell added.
Transit Patrol Constable Bob Moynagh said arrests took place in the subway at Scarborough Centre, Dufferin, Sherbourne, College, Victoria Park and Lawrence West stations, and above ground on the Finch West, Jane, Lawrence East and Sheppard East routes. The investigation into identifying the manufacturers is ongoing, he said.
In 2012, Special Investigations, TPS and Interac helped to bring down another fraud ring that was using compromised debit cards to buy TTC passes at Pass Vending Machines.