Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Victoria, BC – A man faces recommended charges after sophisticated identify thefts and frauds amounting to over $100,000 in losses were uncovered following an impaired driving traffic stop which led officers to a fake Alberta driver’s license, a series of Google reviews, identify thefts and a search warrant which revealed evidence of a sophisticated operation.
Just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021, a VicPD Patrol Sergeant observed a black Dodge Ram 1500 truck being driven north on Quadra Street in the southbound lane. The officer pulled the vehicle over at Blanshard and Pembroke streets. The officer noted that the driver displayed signs of having recently consumed alcohol and when questioned, the driver told the officer that he had been drinking. Additional officers attended and a roadside screening device, or breathalyzer, was used. The driver blew a “warn” on the device, which resulted in a three-day immediate roadside prohibition (IRP).
The truck was impounded and the man released at roadside.
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. Officers also learned that the man 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. Patrol officers learned that the “friend John”, who in fact lived in Alberta, had reported an identity theft after learning of tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent loans taken out in his name. Major Crime Unit (MCU) fraud detectives were called in to take conduct of 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. They learned that the suspect had left Google reviews at a number of these businesses and used these reviews to identify potential additional victims. The Dodge Ram 1500 truck, which had been impounded, had been stolen by fraud from an online vehicle sales service. When searched, officers discovered a replica handgun and new tools in the truck. These were seized.
As they continued their investigation, officers then attended the building in the 1300-block of Pandora Avenue where the suspect had told officers he resided with his “friend John” and observed the suspect outside. Officers applied for and were granted a search warrant. As the suspect had previous involvement with firearms, the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) was tasked with securing the unit in the residence and arresting the suspect.
Just before 1 p.m. on November 10, 2021, GVERT executed the warrant, and arrested the suspect without incident a short distance away from the residence. 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.
To date, officers have identified several frauds, including the fraudulent purchase of the truck, a trailer and several thousand dollars in cash. The total value of frauds appears to be over $100,000. The trailer, valued at $47,000, has been recovered. This investigation remains ongoing. Charges have not been sworn.
If you have information about this file and have not yet spoken to officers, please call the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654, extension 1. To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.