MONTREAL -- Five people were arrested on Monday in connection to a network of electricity theft.

To avoid paying electric bills for their rented homes, suspects used the personal information of others – without their knowledge – to sign them up as account managers with Hydro-Quebec. 

Between 2014 and 2019, the two main suspects -- Mario Brousseau and Simon Brousseau-Ouellette -- and their accomplices committed acts of fraud of up to $300,000, according to Hydro-Quebec.

Customer service representatives couldn't spot fraudulent cases since the names and information provided on the accounts were real.

The suspects will appear in court and face 20 counts of fraud, conspiracy and identity theft.

Hydro-Quebec pointed out that the network has been dismantled after an investigation -- that was part of a dozen files -- was carried out by the company to fight against fraud.

Those who are concerned or who need to report fraud are being asked to communicate with Hydro-Quebec confidentially at 1-877-816-1212.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2020.