Whistler-based fraud operation busted

RCMP arrest 24-year-old suspect in connection with scam

A 24-year-old Gabriola Island man with family connections in Whistler is facing multiple charges in relation to running fraud operation out of the resort town.

Whistler RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair said since September the detachment has been investigating an ongoing scam involving a fraudulent invoicing for web hosting services.

He said Enterprise Corporate Web Hosting issued 1,000 invoices for work not performed for amounts between $130 and $155. The potential for the fraud, he added, is over $100,000 as a result.

"This suspect utilized a Whistler bank account and mail box with fraudulent identification to receive and cash cheques," LeClair said. "It is believed companies received invoices from this suspect and many people paid the invoices believing they were legitimate."

Last Friday (Nov. 9) the RCMP General Investigation Section, working on information obtained from the Whistler investigation, established surveillance on a Nanaimo business the suspect was believed to attend that day.

"At 3:30 p.m. the suspect attended the business and was arrested," LeClair said. "He attempted to fight and flee, but was successfully apprehended by police."

The man was remanded into custody and made his first court appearance on Wednesday (Nov. 14). So far he is facing charges of identity theft, forgery and possessing identity information intended to commit fraud.

LeClair said RCMP would like to speak with anybody who may have received a fraudulent invoice. They are asked to contact Const. Rutherford at 604-905-1952.

"We suspect there are more people out there who have not realized they are victims of a fraud," he said.

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