An impaired driving traffic stop and subsequent Victoria police investigation earlier this month led to a man being arrested for frauds and thefts that, so far, likely top $100,000.
After the traffic stop led to a search of a Victoria residence, police said the man’s alleged frauds – including fraudulent purchases of a Dodge Ram truck and a $45,000 trailer that was recovered – have a value that appears to be over $100,000.
Early in the morning on Nov. 2, a Victoria Police Department officer pulled over a black Dodge Ram 1500 going the wrong direction in Quadra Street’s southbound lane. The traffic stop eventually led to police suspending the man’s license for three days and impounding the truck after a breathalyzer test was done.
The man was released at the roadside.
During the traffic stop, the man told officers the truck belonged to his “friend John” who lived with him in a Pandora Avenue rental building, VicPD said in a release. The man didn’t have a valid driver’s license and the Alberta license that he handed officers didn’t match the class recorded in the system. One officer spotted signs of the license being counterfeit.
Officers then learned that the friend, John, actually lived in Alberta, and had reported identity theft after learning of tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent loans taken out in his name. Fraud detectives learned the suspect allegedly 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,” VicPD said.
When searching the truck, officers found and seized a replica handgun and new tools. Police said the truck itself was stolen by fraud from an online vehicle sales service.
Police obtained a search warrant for the Pandora Avenue rental unit after seeing the man outside the building. VicPD said the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team executed the Nov. 10 search because the suspect had previous involvement with guns. The man was arrested a short distance from the Pandora Avenue residence. Officers found additional evidence of fraud and identity theft during the search.
Charges have not yet been laid and the investigation continues.
Anyone with information can contact VicPD at 250-995-7654, ext. 1, or report anonymously to Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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