Three Canadians sentenced in global PPE fraud

Three Canadians have been sentenced for their participation in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud that involved acquiring personal protective equipment at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the defendants was ordered to serve 80 months in prison.

Steven Mesrop, a 31-year-old man from Richmond Hill, Ont., was the alleged ringleader of the wide-ranging scheme that leveraged stolen credit card information to purchase event tickets and personal protective equipment throughout North America, which they would later sell at a marked up price.

According to a case summary released by the United States Attorney Office, Mesrop caused a total loss of US$3,463,253.85 and attempted to cause an additional loss of US$2,032,732.54. He was ordered by the Oklahoma City federal court to pay restitution in the amount of US$3,463,253.85 to 39 victims.

Mesrop has been in custody since his arrest on March 18, 2021, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Two other Canadians, Mirna Mahrous Habib, a 25-year-old man from Mississauga, Ont., and Karin Treister, a 24-year-old woman from Toronto, Ont., also pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scheme and have been sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti.

Habib faces four months in prison and was ordered to pay US$683,243.23 in restitution to eight victims.

Treister was not sentenced to prison, but was ordered to pay US$30,000 in restitution.

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