Desperate for dough, borrowers burned by con artist charging illegal upfront fee

So far three victims have come forward saying they made contact with an individual purporting to be a private investor. He guarantees them money, but asks for a fee upfront – typically in the hundreds of dollars – to pay for legal fees and closing costs.

  • Sep. 27, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Saanich police want to speak with victims of a money-lending scam targeting people who are desperate to borrow money.

So far three victims have come forward saying they made contact with an individual purporting to be a private investor. He guarantees them money, but asks for a fee upfront – typically in the hundreds of dollars – to pay for legal fees and closing costs.

The money he promises never comes, supposedly because the deal has fallen through or the borrowers were turned down. The money paid upfront is not returned.

“It is contrary to Canadian law to ask someone to pay upfront fees to obtain financing,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

Police are aware of the person involved in the fraud and say he was convicted of similar offences in Metro Vancouver.

“We believe there are more victims out there,” Jantzen said, acknowledging that even people who’ve had contact with the fraudster and not been conned are asked to call police.

It’s not known whether this scam is still active in Greater Victoria, Jantzen said, as the three victims’ complaints date back nearly a year.

Saanich police can be contacted at 250-475-4321.

kslavin@saanichnews.com