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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Raid Brokerages in Toronto

TORONTO -- Police raided 13 brokerage firms and one other business in the Toronto area in a probe into alleged stock market manipulation.

About 30 investigators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Securities Commission, Ontario Provincial Police and Toronto police searched the companies late Wednesday afternoon "to collect documentary and other evidence to support the continuing investigation," authorities said in a statement.

The firms searched were not identified, but the searches "do not indicate complicity in the matter under investigation," it said.

The probe "focuses on a small part of the stock market involving high-risk, highly speculative stocks on the fringe of the stock market," said Inspector Bob Davis, head of the RCMP commercial crime section in Toronto.

The statement said the alleged crimes would have little impact on the average investor. It did not provide further details.

"We will now go back, go through all the evidence that was gathered and ascertain whether or not there is grounds to lay a criminal charge," RCMP spokeswoman Michele Paradis said.

Complaints have been rising about high-pressure sales of small U.S. stocks to U.S. investors by so-called bucket shops or boiler rooms operating from Canada by phone and the Internet. The statement did not say the investigation related to these operations.

Also involved in Wednesday's raids was the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, which brings together three levels of police with federal tax, customs, immigration and security intelligence agencies "to uncover, investigate, prosecute and disrupt criminal organizations." The Ontario Provincial Police anti-rackets squad also participated.