A 21-year-old woman from Oakville is one of the multiple people arrested by police for a series of frauds related to a romance scam operating in Burlington. The woman has been arrested and charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.
This romance scam began in the fall of 2020 where a senior victim was contacted by a rogue claiming to be a retired Canadian army sergeant named Darren Michaelson. They began an online romantic relationship.
Over the short course of their “relationship”, the victim was defrauded of more than $150,000. The victim sent money to the rogue under the impression that money was assisting “Michaelson” with legal troubles and assistance returning to Canada.
Toronto Star also reported that “Also arrested and charged are a 38-year-old female from London, charged with fraud over $5,000; a 36-year-old Toronto male, charged with fraud under $5,000; a 35-year-old male of Toronto, charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime; and a 28-year-old male of Toronto, charged with fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.”
Police also believe that there may be more victims and want to remind residents to not send money or disclose personal information to individuals you have not met in person.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre research suggests that online romance scams took more than $7.3 million from Canadians in 2020.