A three-month investigation by Halton Police has led to the arrest of a Burlington man who is being accused of defrauding Syrian refugees overseas.

Police first heard of the reported fraud from a community volunteer group in Toronto, whose relatives were the alleged victims. Eight families were told that if they sent money, they would ensure sponsorship for immigration to Canada through a local church program. Police say the families sent about $200,000.

Police executed a search warrant at a home in Burlington and a suspect was arrested.

Halton police are working with a local volunteer in Qatar to identify more victims, something they say is causing logistical issues considering the victims are currently living overseas and may be reluctant to come forward.

A suspect identified as Bashar Abdulahad, 49, has been charged with eight counts of fraud over $5,000 and money laundering in connection with the fraud.

Anyone with information is being encouraged to contact Det. Const. Jon Williams of the Halton Regional Police Service Fraud Unit at 905-825-4848 ext. 8737.