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New charges for man who may have two fiancees?

TORONTO - More charges are almost certainly pending against a man police allege defrauded two fiancees, their parents and a widowed senior out of $1.5 million, the lead detective said Tuesday.

TORONTO - More charges are almost certainly pending against a man police allege defrauded two fiancees, their parents and a widowed senior out of $1.5 million, the lead detective said Tuesday.

Police say the accused portrayed himself as an international businessman and a venture capitalist and used an online dating service to meet some of his alleged victims. Investigators allege he targeted single women and senior citizens.

Since announcing the two counts of fraud, criminal breach of trust and other charges against Toronto man Arvind Kumar Sanmugam, 49, on Monday, police have received calls from 17 other people, said Det. Tom Hartford.

"There will be more charges, I can almost guarantee that," Hartford said.

The investigation started when a woman in her 60s from Vancouver who was visiting Toronto complained she was conned out of her life savings, forced to sell her home and live in a rented apartment, police say.

"He sort of promised her financial independence," Hartford alleged. Sanmugam told the woman to mortgage her house and promised her big returns on an investment with a company, police allege.

"She bought into it and mortgaged everything she had, and that was the end of that money," Hartford said. "That was almost $700,000."

Hartford said Sanmugam is alleged to have met at least one of his victims on an online dating service. Two women have come forward claiming to be engaged to the accused.

Police have said those two women, their parents and the widowed senior lost $1.5 million.

The suspect's online dating activity appear to be limited to one website, police said, though they would not name the site.

Sanmugam used his real name online, Hartford said, and police are urging anyone with information to contact them.

"We're urging anyone that may have been victimized to have the courage to come forward," said Const. Tony Vella.

Police said Sanmugam is known to travel across Canada, including Halifax, Montreal, and the Vancouver area.

Sanmugam was to appear in court Tuesday for a bail hearing, but it was adjourned to Thursday, Hartford said.

 
 
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