Toronto police are using a massive $3-million counterfeit bust to push a buyer beware warning in the midst of the holiday shopping season. Investigators seized disturbing knock-offs including children’s toys stuffed with human and dog hair, fake prescription medications and electronics that pose a fire risk.

At a show-and-tell news conference Monday, authorities displayed a wide array of rip-offs seized during GTA busts that also included high-end designer clothes, handbags and iPhone accessories. And not all of the items were found in bargain stores — police found some knock-offs being sold at higher-end shopping centres, including Yorkdale mall.

“I would like to ask everyone to keep in mind if they choose to buy cheap counterfeit goods, you are putting your family at risk, and in addition you’re supporting organized criminal activity,” RCMP Insp. Todd Gilmore said.

Cash, gold and silver bars, and very convincing fake IDs were also seized.

“What these people are using the counterfeit driver’s licences for, we’re not sure. Is there a terrorism link here? Very much could be,” Toronto Police Det. Rob Whalen said, noting the fake IDs seized fooled some officers.

Investigators from the Toronto police financial crimes unit, officers from York and Peel regions and the RCMP, as well as partners from the private sector teamed up on the investigation, dubbed Project Public Safety. Seven men and four women were arrested and are facing 47 charges combined, including fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and possession for the purpose of trafficking stolen goods. They’re all slated to appear in court Jan. 17, 2013.

Whalen also pointed out the dangers of fake plush toys, noting consumers will have no idea what they’re stuffed with.

“We opened a couple of these toys … and we found dog hair, we found human hair, we found odds and sods of stuff,” he said of an Angry Birds toy. “My concern is a kid’s going to receive this toy, maybe even a toddler sitting in their crib chewing on the end of it … what are they putting in their mouths?”

Toronto police Staff-Insp. Bryce Evans highlighted a study conducted this year by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce that shows 80 per cent of the counterfeit products sold in Canada are made in China and 30 per cent pose a “serious health and safety risk to Canadians.”

Authorities had a simple message for holiday shopping bargain hunters: if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

“Tests conducted on a popular counterfeit Canadian jacket revealed the down in the jacket contained unhealthy elements, including bacteria, mildew and chicken parts,” Evans said. “The trim around the hoods contained a variety of furs, including that of German shepherds.”

Whalen said police seized fake prescription medications, including Levitra, Cialis and Viagara knock-off pills.

“This can and will make you ill and possibly kill you,” he said. “We’ve had cases in Toronto … where counterfeit medication has been linked to the deaths of several people.”

Fake Duracell batteries were found in one warehouse and some “were leaking chemicals in their packages.” Counterfeit electronic goods were also seized that were missing key components, including breakers and resisters.

While police are celebrating a win for the good guys, Whalen said the busts will make dent in operations “for a little while.”

“We’ve probably annoyed them a lot for Christmas,” he said.

“They almost look at the odd bust as the cost of doing business.”

The following have benn charged in this investigation:

Nicolae Tudose, 57, of Kettleby, is charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over
  • Passing Off Wares
  • Sell Infringing Copy



Jin Ma, 32, of Markham, is charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)



Guo Chen, 27, of Toronto, is charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)
  • Possession of Proceeds of Crime



Jing Xie, 29, of Toronto, is charged with:

  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over
  • Passing Off Wares
  • Sell Infringing Copy
  • Fraud Over
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)


Kamal George, 20, of Toronto, is charged with:

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (under)
  • Fraud Under
  • Passing Off Wares
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over



JinZhen Zhuang, 42, and Guiming Xu, 42, both of Toronto, are each charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Possession fro the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over
  • Passing Off Wares
  • Sell Infringing Copy
  • Possession Property Obtained by Crime (over)


Mohammad-Razul Khan, 51, of Missisauga, is charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Passing Off Wares
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over
  • Sell Infringing Copy


Jingxiang Yang, 40, of Markham, is charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over
  • Passing Off Wares
  • Selling Infringing Copy


Duc Duong, 60, of Missisauga, is charged with:

  • Fraud Over
  • Passing Wares
  • Possession Property Obtained by Crime (over)
  • Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Stolen Goods Over
  • Possession of Proceeds of Crime
  • Selling Infringing Copy


11. Sai Huang, 49, of Toronto, is charged with:

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (over)