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Project Collector halts Cross-Canada money laundering

Project Collector halts Cross-Canada money laundering

Calgary… A professional money laundering organization, working in support of some of Canada’s largest crime groups, has been dismantled following an unprecedented investigation by ALERT and the RCMP.

Project Collector is a three-year financial crime investigation conducted jointly between ALERT Calgary’s financial crime team and RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC). The investigation began in Calgary and led to the dismantling of a nation-wide criminal organization involved in money laundering.

Seven suspects have been charged, with arrests taking place in Calgary and Vancouver. In addition, more than $16 million in bank accounts, real estate holdings, and vehicles have been placed under criminal restraint.

Proceeds of crime from some of Canada’s largest criminal organizations were allegedly being transported between Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. In a one-year period alone investigators identified the transfer of $24 million in cash, while the group’s money laundering activities date back to at least 2013.

Project Collector began in July 2018 after $1 million in cash, that was destined for Vancouver, was intercepted in Calgary. ALERT and RCMP launched an extensive investigation that relied heavily on intelligence from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Project Collector revealed that the group operated pseudo-bank branches at either side of the country, which while holding large cash reserves, allowed organized crime groups utilizing its service to transfer funds while avoiding the detection of financial banking institutions and authorities. The money laundering was primarily connected back to drug trafficking proceeds.

In total, 71 criminal offences are being pursued against the money laundering organization. Charges include participation in a criminal organization, laundering proceeds of crime, and trafficking property obtained by crime. Charges were also laid under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.

The arrests took place in September 2022:

  • Lien Ha, 42-year-old from Calgary,
  • Donald Hoang, 26-year-old from Vancouver;
  • Van Duc Hoang, 64-year-old from Vancouver;
  • Van Thi Nguyen, 62-year-old from Vancouver;
  • Cynthia Nguyen, 42-year-old from Calgary;
  • Yuong Nguyen, 43-year-old from Calgary; and
  • Grace Tang, 25-year-old from Vancouver.

Full list of charges (PDF)

During the course of the investigation, search warrants were executed at a total of 10 homes in the Calgary region, Toronto area, and Vancouver.

Project Collector relied on the assistance of a number of police agencies and specialized units, including: Calgary Police Service, Canada Revenue Agency, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG), Vancouver Police, Toronto Police, Edmonton Police, Halton Police, Seized Property Management Directorate, and RCMP units in Ontario and British Columbia.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

Protecting Kids Online | Internet Child Exploitation

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

FILE INTAKES

680

872

1,149

1,114

3,815

2,994

2,764

SUSPECTS CHARGED

22

16

34

37

109

81

125

CHARGES LAID

87

45

123

160

415

351

413

CHILDREN RESCUED

26

78

56

43

203

46

100

EXHIBITS SEIZED

335

368

545

476

1,724

1,243

1,845

TOTAL PHOTOS/VIDEOS

262,400

511,133

1,374,310

606,254

2,754,097

2,551,921

13,260,819

Stopping Human Trafficking | HUMAN TRAFFICKING & COUNTER EXPLOITATION

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

13

10

7

4

34

30

76

CHARGES LAID

79

46

87

19

231

96

157

VICTIM INTERVENTIONS

30

29

17

37

113

28

22

Intelligence & Expertise | CISA / Training

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

INTELLIGENCE REPORTS

409

296

327

442

1,474

1,560

1,318

TRAINING COURSES

5

3

8

11

27

36

25

CANDIDATES TRAINED

321

56

135

350

862

933

638

Disrupt & Dismantle Organized Crime | Combined Special Forces Enforcement

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

40

27

42

32

141

197

168

CHARGES LAID

176

156

237

231

800

1,088

820

FIREARMS SEIZED

105

53

26

48

232

102

126

EST. VALUE OF DRUGS SEIZED

$906,814

$553,851

$2,725,161

$1,148,337

$5,334,163

$10,898,269

$334,093,020

PROCEEDS OF CRIME SEIZED

$218,133

$52,970

$130,996

$230,195

$632,294

$1,432,847

$21,740,617

ANNUAL Regional ResultS

ARRESTS

CHARGES

FIREARMS

DRUGS

PROCEEDS

CALGARY

24

110

14

$937,422

$65,881

EDMONTON

17

131

45

$592,839

$272,446

FORT MCMURRAY

8

78

4

$352,942

$144,301

GRANDE PRAIRIE

7

17

13

$192,145

$31,855

LETHBRIDGE

7

29

44

$349,773

$51,245

LLOYDMINSTER

24

93

41

$164,134

$12,504

MEDICINE HAT

37

179

13

$293,108

$7,861

RED DEER

17

163

58

$2,451,800

$46,201

TOTALS

141

800

232

$5,334,163

$632,294

Organized Property Crimes | Auto Crimes

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

SUSPECTS CHARGED

1

1

2

1

10

CHARGES LAID

11

47

STOLEN VEHICLES

23

15

1

6

45

245

118

RECOVERED ASSETS

$1,432,000

$941,025

$108,000

$260,000

$2,741025

$8,420,500

$3,919,500

Firearms investigations | Firearms lab & Gang suPpression teams

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

2023-24

2022-23

2021-22

FIREARMS EXAMINATIONS

349

351

243

235

1,178

EXHIBIT EXAMINATIONS

1,316

1,409

891

1,099

4,715

SERIAL NUMBER RESTORATIONS

31

34

19

24

108

IBIS SUBMISSIONS

343

421

1,334

304

2,402

GUN SEIZURES

1

14

15

SUSPECTS CHARGED

4

22

26

CHARGES LAID

41

144

185

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) involves images and/or videos that depict the sexual abuse of minors – the majority of which involve prepubescent children. Often, CSAM involves explicit and/or extreme sexual assaults against the child victim (Cybertip.ca).

Learn more about Internet Child Exploitation and ALERT’s integrated teams combatting this issue.

Ghost Guns are illegal, privately manufactured firearms or lower receivers. These weapons are often made with 3D-printers, and undermine public safety due to their lack of licensing requirements, serialization and safety controls.

Learn more about Ghost Guns on ALERT’s dedicated Privately Manufactured Firearms info page