EDMONTON -- Organized crime charges have been laid against several employees of an online payment service that facilitated payments for unlicensed illegal cannabis from online dispensaries.

The Federal Serious and Organized Crime Unit, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, Canada Revenue Agency and the Forensic Accounting Management Group began an investigation into Edmonton-based company Moxipay Corporation a year ago after receiving a tip from a bank about suspicious financial transactions from the company.

The investigation determined that in 2018, Moxipay facilitated over 84,000 transactions that added up to $15 million in proceeds from the sale of illegal cannabis.

The money was received through e-transfer payments, and officials say the funds were laundered by Moxipay either by way of transfer back to the illegal dispensaries, or to the direct benefit of the company.

Nando Covelli, 67, John Oluk, 67, Marco Bonnani, 45, and Daniel Tse, 39, who are all directors of Moxipay, and Lorenzo (John) Covelli, 31, and employee of Moxipay have been charged with the following:

  • Laundering proceeds of a crime
  • Possession of property obtained by a crime
  • Trafficking in property obtained by a crime
  • Commission of offence for criminal organization.

Officials want to remind Albertans that cannabis can only be purchased legally online from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis online site.