Five residents of Southwestern Ontario have been charged for taking part in an alleged fraud scheme that involved advertising cottages they didn’t own.
According to CBC News, police say nearly 50 people paid for cottage rental accommodations they found online, not realizing that the people who posted the ads “did not own or have any right to offer any of the advertised cottages for rent.”
The people attempting to rent the properties, which were promoted online as being in “popular vacation areas,” communicated with the accused through email and text message. The bookings were paid for by email money transfers, and the alleged fraud wasn’t discovered until the vacationers arrived at their destination.
In total, the alleged victims paid more than $50,000 to those charged.
The investigation, which recently led to the arrest of five people from Windsor, Ontario, and the nearby Essex County, began last August.
The accused range in age from 21 to 26, and are due to appear in a London court in January. Together, they face charges of fraud over $5,000, laundering the proceeds of crime, and possession of the proceeds of crime.