The criminal investigation into the theft of the personal data of more than 4 million Desjardins customers may have been compromised because the bank warned the prime suspect, even though police had clearly said no.
In May 2019, the Laval Police Force launched a “Project Clive” investigation following allegations of fraud in its territory, issuing a stern warning to Desjardins.
The financial institution is said to have robbed its former employee Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorval. She wanted to recover the suspect’s laptop, and he may have had a chip in his ear about the fact that he was under investigation.
“Do not interfere in the investigation”
Laval Police Force Detective Sergeant Patrick French, “As far as the current police investigation is concerned, vehemently opposed any action that Desjardins could take,” we read in the series. Affidavit Cases (DPCP) received yesterday by the Director of Criminal and Penalty.
« [Le policier] In order not to interfere with the investigation, Laval has repeatedly stated that no action should be taken against this employee without the explicit consent of the police representative, ”said Laval, a detective sergeant in the police station, according to his colleague Mary-Line Beller.
Despite this warning, Devijardins carried out several operations in the following days, including a search of the Bowlinger-Dorwall office in Lewis and the seizure of documents on campus.
A backlash would have been reported to the police, and we read in the documents, many of which were edited by Crown and Desjardins.
Climate of despair
In recent months, there have been numerous reports of difficulties in cooperating between the police and Desjard. In February, our Bureau of Investigation cited a source familiar with the matter, who denounced the “strong environment of mistrust between Desjardins and police officers investigating massive theft of data.”
We also revealed that Sarata du Quebec (SQ) spent four days this winter, which was tested at Desjardins’ offices in the city of Montreal.
Desjardins refused to provide some documents useful for the investigation, and the police seized the High Court to obtain a lawyer-client privilege.
Desjardins CEO Guy Gormier defended himself by promising to ask all his staff to cooperate with the police.
In June 2020, 98.5 FM and La Press also cited disgruntled police officers, saying the financial institution was more concerned with “protecting its image” than allowing arrests on suspicion.
Ten people conducted the survey
SQ has identified 10 people who could be linked to the identity theft scheme, as we know from the confessions discussed yesterday.
Topping the list is Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorval, a former employee of Desjardins’ marketing department who was fired after a data breach was discovered.
Police conclude that he is “no doubt” the “mole” who extracted personal information from Desjardins’ databases.
The other ten individuals and several companies working mainly in the field of finance and telemarketing are being targeted. It is suspected that they shared stolen personal information with the intention of adding new customers. To date, none of them have been charged.
However, police suspects were considered sufficient to authorize search warrants for at least two judges.
People Under Investigation
- Sebastian Bowlinger-Dorwall
- Charles Bernier
- Matthew Jonkas
- Francois Belarusian-Pachachart
- Nicholas Doran
- Nicola Fecto-Dingov
- Dave Leklerk
- Juan Pablo Serrano
- Two other individuals have been identified so far
Companies under investigation
- Guaranteed Capital (9265-2791 Quebec Inc.)
- Dominion Ax Mortgage Center Inc.
- Instant Finance (9315-7238 Quebec Inc.)
- Blackstone Finance (9346-0384 Quebec Inc)
- Your Marketing / Urgency Credit (9248-7412 Qu4bec inc.)
- Jeshan Franசois Belarusian (NEQ: 1168832765)
- Pacha Chart Finance Group (9347-6760 Quebec Inc)
- Maestro Finance Committee (NEQ: 1171479380)
- Cash 500 Loan / Solutia Group (9349-6933 Quebec Inc)
- Joncas Society Immopilor (9327-6160 Quebec Inc.)
“For the benefit of a criminal organization”
Sarat to Quebec believes that the theft and resale of personal data of Desjartins members may have been carried out in conjunction with a criminal group.
Police are actually exploring the possibility of recommending the DPCP to file charges of “crime for the benefit of a criminal organization”.
This number is unusual for financial or technical crimes because it is usually assigned to roaming or members of the mafia or to criminal bikers such as Hell’s Angels.
None of the documents mention that a few brokers who allegedly paid to obtain client lists from Desjardins may have links with such organizations.
According to Wylancourt
On the other hand, the police consider the participants in the conspiracy to be themselves, by the way they operate, a kind of criminal organization.
We saw a similar case in 2013, when former mayor Laval Gilles Wylancourt and his close guard were accused of belonging to a criminal organization (even in the case of the general mayor), contracts and cash rebates when the public sharing system was in place.
However, the charges were dropped in the months leading up to the talks between the Crown and the prosecutors for the accused. Wylancourt sentenced him to less than 6 years in prison for fraud, breach of trust and conspiracy.
Commissioning offenses for the benefit of a criminal organization is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
In the confessions we were able to consult yesterday, we first learned of the list of criminal charges being considered in the investigation into data theft in Desjardins:
- Identity theft
- Hijacking in identifying information
- Unauthorized use of the system
- Fraud over 5,000
- Crime for the benefit of a criminal organization
- Possession of property acquired by crime