senior man giving credit card details on the phone

Canada-wide arrest warrants have been issued for two people facing charges in connection with alleged Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) scams.

Toronto-area RCMP filed charges against the pair — Vimal Shrestha and Bindisha Joshi — on charges of fraud, money laundering and possession of proceeds of crime. Police say they are believed to be in Nepal.

The charges follow an ongoing investigation, known as Project Octavia, to tackle cross-border frauds, including CRA scams, bank investigator scams and tech support scams.

“The focus of the investigation was to combat the CRA telephone tax schemes and other interrelated frauds through public awareness, disruption, and enforcement,” police said.

Foreign fraudsters have targeted Canadians with these sorts of scams since 2014, according to police.

It’s estimated that CRA scams have cost victims $18.5 million between 2014 and 2020.

Total losses for all three scams are estimated at over $34 million.

“The serious criminal charges that the two accused are facing sends a clear message: international borders will not cloak offenders with immunity from apprehension and prosecution. Transnational fraudsters who target Canadian victims will be investigated, charged and prosecuted,” said staff sergeant Ken Derakhshan, acting officer in charge of the RCMP’s GTA Financial Crime Section, in a release.