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Ex-boyfriend charged in Elnaz Hajtamiri’s abduction from Wasaga Beach home

NOTE: Present Truth Investigations Inc. is impartial and reserves judgement regarding this matter. This re-posted news item is intended to educate and inform about the serious nature of private investigative services.

Mohamad Lilo, 35, was arrested at a home in Brossard, Que. by Ontario Provincial Police and is being flown back to Ontario before appearing in court Wednesday. (Mathieu Wagner/Radio-Canada) – Source: CBC

The ex-boyfriend of Elnaz Hajtamiri has been charged with kidnapping in her violent abduction from a home in Wasaga Beach earlier this year, Ontario Provincial Police say.

Mohamad Lilo of Brossard, Que. also faces charges of attempted murder and attempted kidnapping in connection with a prior assault on the 37-year-old woman in a Richmond Hill, Ont. parking garage on Dec. 21, when Hajtamiri was beaten with a frying pan.

Lilo was arrested Tuesday at a home in Brossard by Ontario Provincial Police and is being flown back to Ontario ahead of a court date on Wednesday, OPP spokesperson Bill Dickson told CBC News. 

Philippe Grenier, Lilo’s lawyer, said the accused intends to plead not guilty.

In a statement to CBC News, Hajtamiri’s family thanked police for their work, saying they are hopeful the development will bring them one step closer to her.

“These past six months have been grueling and painful since her disappearance, as we’ve continued to search endlessly for her. We’ve been met with nothing but silence from the abductors, and not a trace has been found from our beautiful girl,” they said.

“We hope that the arrest of this suspect will bring us closer to finding her.”

Dickson called Tuesday’s arrest “a major step.”

“But this is not over,” he said. “The bottom line is we need to find Elnaz Hajtamiri, we need to find out what has happened to her. We owe that to her family, owe that to her community.”

Elnaz Hajtamiri, 37, was abducted from a home on Jan. 12 by three men wearing police gear, but not actual police uniforms. (Submitted by the Hajtamiri family) – Source: CBC

Tuesday’s charges come approximately three months after two other men were charged in connection with the December assault.

They also come after CBC News reported in April that Lilo hired a private investigator to watch Hajtamiri prior to her abduction in January. He was subsequently charged with criminal harassment and released on bail.

Hajtamiri, who lives in the Toronto area, has been missing since she was forcibly taken by three men wearing police gear on the evening of Jan. 12. She was abducted from a home where she was staying with relatives in the popular tourist area at the foot of Georgian Bay, about a two-hour drive north of Toronto.

Ex-boyfriend was also business partner of Hajtamiri’s

As previously reported, sources have told CBC News Lilo is the former boyfriend of Hajtamiri, who also goes by the last name Tamiri, and that the two broke up last October. 

Dickson told CBC News on Tuesday Lilo was also a former business partner of Hajtamiri, but said he had no further details of that relationship.

Hajtamiri, who was born in Iran, came to Canada in 2018 and found work in the import-export shipping industry, according to a news release from the family, but she had recently left her job to focus on building a cake-making business.

She has yet to be located.

Police say they continue to investigate and “anything is possible” in terms of further arrests or charges.

“Someone may still have that piece of information out there that could lead our investigators to find out where Elnaz is,” said Dickson. 

Hajtamiri is described as five-feet, three-inches tall with a slim build and black hair that had been shoulder length until it was cut not long before she was abducted. 

Anyone with any information is asked to call the dedicated tip line at 1-833-728-3415or their local police service. Anonymous tips can be shared with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Source: CBC, Ryan Jones

‘Protect your wallet and your heart,’ warns woman after finding Ontario beau’s romance scam links

Woman hires private detective, uncovers outstanding charges against ex-boyfriend from Waterloo region.

Anna met a man using the name Jay Singh on Plenty of Fish — but it turns out that wasn’t his real identity. The Ontario man is now in legal trouble over alleged romance scams. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

A man from Waterloo region in Ontario who was found guilty of scamming multiple women out of over a reported $150,000 some 15 years ago is once again facing fraud charges — after one of his former flames took the investigation into her own hands.

In 2006, Jivesh Jagota was dubbed the Online Casanova and convicted of defrauding a dozen local women, according to the Waterloo Region Record newspaper.

The crimes followed a similar pattern: Jagota would meet women on the dating site Plenty of Fish and reportedly bilk them out of thousands, often while pretending to be a lawyer, medical resident or university student, the newspaper said. 

At the time, he was given a three-year sentence.

Today, Jagota is in legal hot water for allegedly defrauding a Woodstock woman of $6,800 in 2015.

Woodstock police confirmed they received a fraud report in April 2016 and arrested Jagota roughly six years later, in January 2022.

Why the long lag?

A woman named Anna, who dated Jagota between March 2019 and April 2020, says she pushed police to enforce the longstanding warrant after she hired a private investigator who discovered the outstanding charges against him. CBC News is keeping Anna’s full name confidential over safety concerns.

“I want him to be accountable,” she said.

Jagota’s lawyer, Nick Cake, told CBC his client “recently became aware” of an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Jagota was “released from the station by the officer in charge after turning himself in,” Cake said in an email.

“The matter is actively moving through court and any comments about the facts alleged would not be appropriate at this time,” Cake said in an email.

None of the latest allegations have been proven in court.

A lawyer named ‘Jay’

The Waterloo Region Record reported on the 2006 sentencing of Jivesh Jagota. (Kitchener Public Library)

Anna said she, too, was a victim of Jagota’s — though she knew him as a lawyer named Jay Singh. They connected on Plenty of Fish, met for coffee and immediately hit it off, she said.

“Things moved really quickly,” said Anna.  “I think he told me he loved me probably the third date, and I believed him.”

While they were together, Anna said she gave him about $9,550, thinking he was using the money to build his legal practice, prepare his home for sale and buy her an engagement ring. She thought they were building a life together, she said.

But by January 2020, Anna realized something was up. They never spent long weekends or holidays together. When she searched the Law Society of Ontario website, she couldn’t find him.

By April, Anna called it quits. She told Jay, as he referred to himself, not to contact her except to pay the money back.

Still, she couldn’t let the situation go.

“He wasn’t just anybody to me — I had planned a life with this man,” she said.

“There was something saying, ‘You know what? There’s something more to this whole situation.'”

So Anna dug deeper. She hired a private investigator who looked up Jay’s phone number, which turned up an address and the last name Jagota.

When she Googled it — she found an old column in the University of Waterloo student newspaper that cited the Record’s 2006 reporting.

“[It] basically outlined a scam that that was similar to the one that that I had experienced,” she said.

‘We were duped’

Soon after, Anna found a profile on Plenty of Fish with a photo of her former boyfriend. But it wasn’t his profile – it was a warning telling other women not to date him. 

CBC has spoken to three women who met the same man using various names, and who they say is Jagota, on the website Plenty of Fish.

Through that profile, she connected with other women who had all dated the same man they now believe was Jagota, but was using various identities. Two of them told CBC they met him on Plenty of Fish while he used the name Robert Rhio Singh.

Together, the group of women hired a second private investigator, who uncovered the outstanding warrant in Woodstock for the alleged 2015 fraud. Using social media, the women managed to figure out where Jagota was living and reported him to police in both Hamilton — where he was staying — and Woodstock, Anna said.

Asked about the situation, a Hamilton police spokesperson confirmed investigators in Woodstock asked for the service’s help with an outstanding warrant. They executed the warrant Jan. 5, 2022, the spokesperson said.

Civil action underway

Today, Anna has recovered some of the money she says she gave Jagota, but is suing to recover the rest he allegedly owes her. 

Her statement of claim, filed April 9, 2021, said that after their breakup, Jagota sent Anna six money orders for a total of $4,098, but that she was still owed $5,473, plus bank withdrawal fees. She is also seeking damages. 

In a statement of defence, Jagota said he only accepted a loan of $5,500 from Anna, which he has since paid back in full. The statement acknowledges Jagota and Anna did meet online and he used the name Jay Singh, but that this was for “profession[al] concerns over privacy.”

The statement of defence also says the relationship between Jagota and Anna was short-lived “without substantial long-term expectations on either side.”

CBC KW reached out to Joseph Kazubek, who is representing Jagota in the civil case involving Anna, for comment. He told CBC in an email their position is that Anna’s accusation is “inaccurate and meritless,” but declined to speak further at the moment.

Romance scams on the rise

Anna, whose name has been withheld for safety reasons, says she was the victim of a romance scam after meeting a man on Plenty of Fish. (Name withheld)

Romance scams aren’t uncommon, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of dollars lost to romance scams in Canada more than doubled — from nearly $26.2 million to $64.6 million. This year is on track to be even worse, with $17.8 million lost to romance scams in the first quarter. 

Spokesperson Jeff Horncastle said these scams have always existed, but the internet has allowed them to flourish. He said many of the scams occur without any in-person meeting, based on “virtual” friendships. 

“I think COVID played a big role as well, where people may have been looking for more companionship online,” said Horncastle, the centre’s acting communications and client outreach officer.

It’s much easier to prevent a scam from happening in the first place than it is to recoup your money after the fact, he said. When dating, he said:

  • Don’t share personal images online.
  • Don’t give money to or invest money with someone you’ve never met.
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Be careful who you share your images with — especially intimate photos.

As for Anna, she feels dating sites need to have better checks and balances. She also cautions women to research anyone they’ve met online — even after they’ve met in person.

Consider taking a look at their driver’s licence, and calling their work to ensure they’re really employed there, she said.

“It sounds harsh, but unfortunately, people can go online [and] pretend to be whoever you want them to be,” she said.

“Just be vigilant and stay safe, and protect your wallet and your heart.”

Source: Paula Duhatschek · CBC News · Posted: May 18, 2022 5:00 AM ET

Final Verdict

Romance scams are quite common and appear to be on the rise. As a standard rule, never send money to strangers you meet online. And it should be an immediate red flag if a romantic interest begins to ask for financial assistance. That said, a Private Investigator can help in tracking down an alleged scammer if you been defrauded of finances. If you suspect or believe that you have fallen prey to a romance scam, reach out to the Investigative Team at Present Truth Investigations.

How To Protect Yourself From Criminals Using Apple AirTags

Source: CNBC

An Overview

In the past, we have reported on the potential security threat that Bluetooth trackers like Apple AirTags can pose to the everyday citizen. Recently, the Toronto Police Service has publicly warned the community about how criminals are using these pieces of tech, to track, follow and steal your assets. As new technologies emerge, there are always criminal elements who seek to exploit and use new tech to enhance their criminal enterprise.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Because many of these devices are quite small, it makes it difficult to detect them with the naked eye or sometimes even with a device. However, there are steps that one can take to enhance personal safety. Below are some steps that you can take to detect a Bluetooth tracking device.

  1. Familiarize yourself with your device. Android devices may soon integrate a way to detect popular Bluetooth trackers. And iOS devices offer a solution to detect non-Apple trackers.
  2. Contact your device manufacturer and ask if they can direct you to new solutions to detect Bluetooth trackers.
  3. Download recommended Apps and vetted software designed to detect when a Bluetooth tracker is near.
  4. Inspect potential hiding spots on your vehicle, such as the gas cap housing, wheel wells, bumpers etc. Remember, some of these trackers are magnetic and can be also attached to the chassis.
  5. Contact the local police service if you have evidence that you are being tracked. Do not touch the tracker; as there may be fingerprints on it.
  6. Install a front and rear dash-cam that is motion activated or one that records continuously. It may be possible that an image of the criminal could be caught on the car surveillance system.
  7. If you suspect that you are being tracked, head to the nearest police station parking lot and make contact with the police.
  8. Use a Club or a similar anti-theft deterrent on you vehicle to slowdown and/or deter a theft.
  9. Ensure that your vehicle is monitored under a quality surveillance camera when parked at your residence.
  10. Check your bags for any unknown trackers which may have been placed into them at some point in a public setting.
Source: Youtube, Toronto Police Service

The Final Verdict

It is recommended that your local police service be contacted should you have strong evidence that you are being tracked or if you believe that you are being stalked and/or followed. That said, sometimes these situations may be harder to prove and less likely to be followed upon by the police. This is where a Private Investigator could assist. An investigator would be able to spend more time to investigate suspected tracking and conduct counter-surveillance, which could assist the police in a criminal investigation. Should you presently have concerns that you are being tracked but require additional assistance and recommendations, do not hesitate to reach out to an Investigative Specialist at Present Truth Investigations. We take each alleged tracking concern seriously and will do our utmost to detect and deter found threats.

Source: Present Truth Investigations Inc.

What To Do If Your Cellphone Gets Hacked

Has your phone been hacked? Or do you suspect that your current device is compromised? Well, you are not alone. The number of cellphone-related inquiries pertaining to suspected hacking issues has sharply increased within the last few years. As a result, Private Investigators and cyber security professionals have experienced a substantial rise in client-related privacy concerns. Some clients suspect that their personal device is compromised, while others are quite confident that their device has been breached. But, how can you identify if your cellphone has been hacked? Below are some of the common indicators that you may be hacked. Not one, but a combination of the below signs may indicate that your device has been compromised.

Signs That Your Phone May Be Hacked

  1. The phone loses it’s charge quickly. – While this could be a sign that you may be experiencing battery issues, it could be a sign that your phone is remotely being accessed.
  2. The phone overheats consistently. – This issue could be related to the battery or the age of the phone. However, if your device suddenly and consistently overheats, this could indicate that malicious software is running on it.
  3. The overall performance diminishes. – When your device slows, it could indicate that there are too many apps using resources on the device. However, it could also indicate that malicious software is competing for resources as it reports back to the hacker.
  4. You notice strange activity. – If you notice emails, texts and calls that you did not make, this would be an obvious sign that someone has used your phone physically or remotely.
  5. There are suddenly more popups. – A sudden increase in popup ads could be a symptom of malware and/or malicious software hidden on your device
  6. Your data usage suddenly spikes. – If your monthly personal usage has not changed, however you notice a marked increase in your data usage, it could indicate that your phone may be compromised.
  7. There are unfamiliar apps on your phone. – If an App which you did not download appears on your device, it is a sure sign that your personal privacy may be at risk.

How To Stop A Hacker

Your data is valuable. And many do not realize the massive scale of the tech industry in the buying and selling of personal data. This data is bought and sold to industries that use algorithms to market and sell both tangible and intangible goods, services and ideas. And this very same data, when obtained through malicious intrusion, can be used against you by a cyber-criminal. Banking and other financial information can be captured and used to access personal finances and currencies. While, information concerning social security numbers, medical and other private data, can be used to counterfeit your identity. However, the good news is that there are steps that one can take, to thwart existing and potential hackers.

How To Remove & Prevent A Hacker From Accessing Your Phone

  1. Use antivirus software and a malware removal tool. – This is recommended for cellphones in general, but specifically for Android devices.
  2. Notify your financial institutions. – If you believe that you have been hacked, it may be beneficial to alert your financial institutions in order to avoid potential financial disruption.
  3. Delete unknown Apps & note all used Apps. – If you notice a strange App on your phone that you did not download, remove it immediately. Then catalogue all of the legitimate Apps on your phone prior to performing a factory reset.
  4. Manually copy your contact list. – If your phone has been compromised and you have consistently backed up to the cloud, you may want to avoid using the cloud after resetting your phone. Hidden Apps and malicious software can be stored within past cloud backups.
  5. Factory-reset your phone. – Bring your device back to it’s original state at purchase. This will erase all malicious software from your device.
  6. Do not backup your device from a cloud. – Start from scratch. Delete all past cloud backups.
  7. Manually install preferred Apps. – As stated above, manually add each App one by one in order to ensure that the same malicious software isn’t copied onto your restored device.
  8. Only install Apps from the Apple Store or Google Play. – This is especially important for Android users. The golden rule is to only download Apps that have been vetted through Apple or Google. This ensures that there is no malicious software downloaded.
  9. Do not jailbreak your phone. – While there are many benefits to a jail-broken phone, for Apple products, you lose the built in security features provided from Apple. This is why Apple devices generally do not need Antivirus software.
  10. Change all of your passwords. – Assume the hacker has all of your passwords. Create new ones so that your accounts cannot be accessed.
  11. Enable 2-Step authentication. – Ensure to enhance your security settings so that you or any other person are notified and challenged when attempting to access areas and Apps within your device.
  12. Install and use a VPN. – This is extremely important. A VPN will hide your personal phone details after it has connected to a network. This is especially vital when connecting to public WiFi networks.
  13. Ensure your connections are encrypted. – Many VPNs will include encryption protocols in order to enhance your security. A good VPN like Surf Shark and Express VPN will provide high levels of encryption built in.
  14. Disable voice assistants on lock screen. – Some scammers will call you in order to obtain a voice copy of your voice. Your voice then can be used to access areas within your phone or accounts who use this security feature. It is recommended to disable this feature.
  15. Turn off the password auto fill feature. – Ensure that your passwords are not auto-filled in any browser or App. It may be a pain to manually enter your password in each time, but auto-filled passwords can provide access to hackers, even if they do not have your password. Generally, it is recommended to answer “No” when asked if you would like a website or App to remember your credit information or password.
  16. Limit App permissions. – Limit Apps to only access your location and other data only while you use them. This will help to prevent a hacker from obtaining your location and personal information.

In Conclusion

With limited technical ability, one can take appropriate steps to protect their personal data and their privacy. Following the above steps, you can feel confident that you have prevented your everyday hacker from illegally spying on you. However, if you suspect that your phone has been hacked or are sure that your device has been compromised, feel free to contact an investigator at Present Truth Investigations. One of our Cyber Security Professionals will be able to provide you with the tools to remedy your issue. However, if you unable to resolve the issue yourself, our specialists will be able to examine your device for you.

How Private Investigators Help Lawyers With Criminal Legal Matters

What Private Investigators Do

When considering what Private Investigators do, most people immediately think of cheating spouses and infidelity. However, there are a host of various and unique functions that a seasoned investigator can perform. These include GPS tracking, workplace investigations, executing injunctions, search and seizures and even assisting in serious matters such as homicide.

Law firms often leverage the unique skill-set of Private Investigative Agencies for matters related to civil, family, corporate, immigration, real estate and even criminal. Criminal matters range from Summary Offences to Hybrid Offences and Indictable Offences. The definition of each is as follows:

Summary Offence

A summary conviction offence is the least serious kind of criminal offence under Canada’s Criminal Code. It is also known as a “petty crime”, for example, disturbing the peace.

Hybrid Offence

A hybrid offence is an offence where the prosecutor can choose, based on factors such as the seriousness of the accused’s actions and the harm caused, to proceed with the offence as either a summary conviction offence or as an indictable offence. Examples of hybrid offences include: Assault. Assault with a weapon. Sexual assault. Possession of a controlled substance.

Indictable Offence

In Canada, an indictable offence is a crime that is more serious than a summary offence. Examples of indictable offences include theft over $5,000, breaking and entering, aggravated sexual assault, and murder. Maximum penalties for indictable offences are different depending on the crime and can include life in prison.

Private Investigators support law firms and criminal lawyers in various ways. Not only do they obtain video evidence via surveillance, but they also locate witnesses and persons of interest. Additionally, an investigator can be requested to gather evidence and document the chain of custody. Investigative Agencies are often also requested to conduct background checks, fraud examinations, verify addresses, monitor individuals out on bail and serve legal documents.

At Present Truth Investigations Agency, our specialized team provides real-time support to independent lawyers and leading law firms who’s practice areas focus on criminal law. Contact us today or click HERE to learn more about how we assist legal advocates.