The RCMP's special investigation unit and Nanaimo RCMP arrested a 24-year-old man from Gabriola Island in relation to an invoicing fraud for a fake company called "Enterprise Corporate Web Hosting."
Upwards of 1,000 businesses received the invoices for small amounts from an address in the Whistler area, usually for $130 or $155. Many businesses assumed they were legitimate and paid - roughly $15,000 worth - although one business tipped off the RCMP back in September, triggering an investigation.
The suspect had a Whistler post office box, as well as other Whistler connections, and would disguise himself when entering establishments to cash cheques.
The police set up a sting operation at a Nanaimo business they believed the man would frequent, and after a few hours the man did show up. He resisted arrest and tried to flee, but was successfully captured on Nov. 9 and held until a court appearance today (Nov.14).
Charges being considered at this point include uttering a forged document, and possessing identity with the intent to commit fraud. Further charges are expected.
The Whistler RCMP thank everyone who reported the scam and want to hear from anyone else who may have received or paid the invoice. Contact Constable Rutherford at 604-905-1952 if you have any information.
Men out substantial sum in rental fraud
A trio of Australians is out a significant amount of money after being caught up in a rental fraud. The men contacted the RCMP after they arrived in Whistler and were unable to contact their landlord.
According to the RCMP, the men forwarded $5,200 to a man in Pennsylvania for rent and damage deposit, plus a $1,750 advance to secure a lower rent amount through the next four months. As well the scammer said he would purchase ski passes on behalf of the men for another undisclosed amount for a total of over $9,000.
The Whistler RCMP has contacted police in Pennsylvania to try and identify the man and maybe collect any video footage from the location where the amount of money was received.
The RCMP have issued regular warnings to people regarding rental frauds, and advise to always deal face-to-face with the landlord, to visit the physical place before renting to look it over and obtain the key, and to be skeptical when dealing with someone over the Internet.