An impaired driving arrest on Quadra Street earlier this month has uncovered a sophisticated identity fraud amounting to over $100,000 in losses.
In the early morning hour of November 2nd, at around 1 a.m., a VicPD officer spotted a black Dodge Ram 1500 truck being driven north on Quadra Street in the southbound lane.
The officer pulled the vehicle over near the intersection of Blanshard and Pembroke Street and noticed the driver was showing signs of being impaired.
Police alleged the driver admitted to the officer that he had been drinking.
A breathalyzer test was conducted and the driver blew a “warn” on the device, which resulted in a three-day immediate roadside prohibition.
During the roadside investigation, the driver told officers the truck belonged to his “friend John” who lived with him in a multi-unit rental building in the 1300-block of Pandora Avenue.
As the investigation continued, officers discovered the man’s did not have a valid driver’s license and that the class on the Alberta license that he handed officers during the stop did not match the class recorded in the licensing system.
“Having previously worked in Alberta and having possessed an Alberta driver’s license, an officer following up on the IRP immediately spotted signs of a counterfeit driver’s license,” VicPD said in a media release.
“Friend John” frauded of thousands of dollars
Upon finding out the driver license was fake, police did a little more digging and found out that the “friend John”, in fact lived in Alberta, and had reported an identity theft after finding out tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent loans were taken out in his name.
Major Crime Unit (MCU) fraud detectives were called in to take over the investigation.
“Fraud detectives learned that the suspect had conducted a series of frauds using the stolen identity at a number of Victoria businesses and financial institutions,” police said.
The suspect had left Google reviews at a number of these businesses and police used these reviews to identify potential additional victims.
In addition to the fraud loans, the Dodge Ram 1500 truck the man was driving, which had been impounded, was stolen by fraud from an online vehicle sales service.
During a search of the truck, officers found a replica handgun and new tools in the truck which were seized.
The investigation continued for several days and officers spotted the suspect at the building he told officers he resided at with his “friend John” in the 1300-block of Pandora Avenue.
On November 10th, the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team executed a search warrant on the suspects residence and arrested him a short distance away.
As officers searched the residence, additional evidence of frauds and identify thefts were uncovered.
“Officers with VicPD’s Forensic Identification Section (FIS) were dispatched to document and collect the additional evidence,” police said.
According to VicPD, multiple frauds have been uncovered involving the suspect, including the fraudulent purchase of the truck, a trailer and several thousand dollars in cash.
The trailer, valued at $47,000, has been recovered and the total value of frauds appears to be over $100,000.
Police said the investigation remains ongoing and no charges have not been sworn as of yet.
Anyone with information is asked to contact VicPD at (250) 995-7654. To report what you know anonymously, call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.