A pastor arrested in Canada is facing multiple charges as a result of a police investigation involving millions of dollars.
Jason Gaurana of Oshawa, Ontario, was a pastor of a popular Filipino church in the North York neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario in Canada was arrested and charged with fraud by the Toronto Police Service (TPS). The charges are part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by TPS, which alleges that members of Toronto’s Filipino community were defrauded of millions of dollars.
Guarana was arrested by TPS on Thursday, October 1, 2020 and is facing two counts of fraud over $5000 in connection with the investigation.
Dubbed Project Cosmo, the investigation has so far seen the arrest of three Filipinos since August 2020.
Project Cosmo resulted in the arrest of the Filipinos, including Guarana, who were targeting members of the community in an investment scam.
The 37 year old Guarana is the pastor of The Vessels of Hope International Community Church, a Pentecostal congregation based in the Little Manila neighbourhood of Toronto, near Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave..
The congregation’s address is listed as 333 Wilson Ave., Toronto, Ontario. Another business, Infy Trading Corporation is listed at the same address. The company lists Guarana as one of its directors.
The two other individuals charged by TPS were 45 year old Glenda Esteves and 44 year old Teddy Lee Esteves, both of Toronto, Ontario. They were charged with fraud, forgery and money laundering to the amount of CAD$3.5 million (approximately PhP127,513,942.40).
TPS alleges that the three Filipinos encouraged members of the community to apply for second mortgages, as well as for credit cards and loans. The proceeds were then being funnelled out of Canada to buy land in the Philippines to build a church.
As part of its investigation, TPS found that Infy Trading Corporation was a construction firm based in Dasmarinas, Cavite in the Philippines.
The Vessels of Hope International is listed as a not-for-profit, with Guarana as co-director.
Other companies identified by TPS as linked to the investigation include Mac Glamour, D-Con Design, B+E Investments and Construction Solutions, all of which have links to the three Filipinos.
TPS believes there may be other victims in the alleged fraud, and are asking anyone who has dealt with any of these companies to contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2222, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477 or online at 222tips.com.
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