VicPD are seeking the public’s help in identifying further victims after nearly a dozen cases of rental fraud.
According to police, thousands of dollars have been lost in these cases and VicPD believes more people may have fallen victim to the same scam.
VicPD say officers began responding to a series of sophisticated rental frauds when they noticed distinct similarities between methods suspects used to defraud their victims and the suspects’ descriptions.
The frauds involve online ads for rental suites, correspondence via text and email over months in some cases, usually have suspects meeting with their victims in a brazen manner and giving out fraudulent key fobs.
VicPD outlined a few incidents with the suspects in a media release that are listed below:
Fraudster met victims
According to police, on September 1st, VicPD met with a victim who reportedly answered a Craigslist ad to rent a suite in a multi-unit building in the 800-block of Yates Street.
The fraudster met with the victim to show them the suite, called their references and collected a damage deposit from the victim who thought they were entering into a legitimate rental agreement.
The victim later became suspicious and contacted the property management of the building only to find out the suite was not available for rent.
Following this discovery, the property manager of the building found the ad for the unit still online and arranged a meeting to see the suite.
The property manager confronted the suspect and demanded the damage deposit funds be returned to the victim who saw the unit under false pretences while on speakerphone with that same victim.
The suspect never returned the funds to the victim.
Officers disrupt ongoing fraud, arrest one
According to VicPD, investigators executed a search warrant on that same building on September 2nd. They were able to arrest one of the two men suspected to be involved in these frauds.
He was released pending a future court date.
Officers say, while conducting that search, they discovered another potential ongoing case of rental fraud by the same two suspects.
Officers locate and arrest second suspect
VicPD claim that on September 19th, one of the victims in these rental frauds saw the same man who defrauded them at a business in the 1000-block of Pandora Avenue.
Officers of VicPD arrived, located and arrested the suspect.
The man they arrested gave a false name but one of the arresting officers had interacted with that suspect before and remembered him.
That suspect was already wanted on several other cases of fraud and he faced 36 different fraud-related charges.
He was transported to a cell by VicPD where the outstanding warrant was executed before being released with a series of conditions and a future court date.
If you have any information
Officers are asking the public for any information on this man as he is wanted in nine other fraud related cases. VicPD believes he potentially defrauded more victims than just those nine cases.
He is described as being Caucasian, standing 5’,8”, with dark brown, stubble-length hair. He wore a medical mask, a “newsboy” style hat, had painted fingernails, was wearing tight jeans, a button-up shirt and a necklace.
He is pictured below.
If you recognize this man or have fallen victim to a similar rental fraud, call VicPD at (250) 995-7654.
To report what you know anonymously, call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.