Victoria police arrest rental fraud suspects accused of defrauding thousands of victims – BC

Victoria Police are looking for more potential victims after they say they arrested two rental fraudsters who defrauded at least 10 victims out of thousands of dollars.

Police said they had recently been alerted to a series of “sophisticated” frauds, with victims reporting similarities in the suspects’ descriptions and methods.

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Investigators say the suspects posted advertisements online and then communicated with the victims via email and text over a period of weeks to a month – after which they “brazenly” met the victims, called their references and given fake key fobs.

The victims, believing they were making valid rental agreements, transferred their first month’s rent and their deposit before realizing they had been defrauded.

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Alerted property manager stings suspect

Police got a break in the case in early September, when one of the suspects met a victim to show him a suite in a building he claimed to be renting.

The victim transferred money to the suspect, but became suspicious and contacted the building manager who told him the unit was not for rent.

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The property manager then found the fake rental listing and contacted the scammer claiming to be a tenant who wanted to view the unit.

When they met to view the unit, he confronted the suspect and recorded the encounter. He also put the suspect on speakerphone with the victim, where the suspect promised to return the money he had taken – but police said he never followed through.

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On September 2, police searched a unit in the building and arrested one of two suspects in the case. Investigators say they also found evidence of another ongoing fraud at the same building, which they disturbed.

Just over two weeks later, a victim of one of the previous frauds spotted the man who allegedly defrauded him in downtown Victoria and called the police who assisted and arrested him.

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Police later discovered he was already facing 36 unrelated and pending fraud charges, and was wanted on a warrant for breaching related terms.

Both suspects have since been released pending upcoming court dates.

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“Given the man’s extensive history of fraud charges and convictions and the number of victims in the current round of frauds officers are investigating, investigators are concerned there may be other victims.” , police said in a news release.

Investigators have released a photo of the suspect, who they say is a suspect in at least nine frauds, and are asking anyone who caused him to lose money to contact Victoria Police at 250-995-7654.

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