OPP charge Ottawa couple with defrauding victims out of $100,000 or more

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The OPP have laid fraud charges against a couple from Ottawa, in connection with a confidence scam officers say defrauded residents of the Sharbot Lake area from as much as $100,000.

Officers allege that the couple claimed to have political connections, using this thread to influence, engage and establish trust with victims or scam their victims into giving them money. Gipse Julio Ricardo Villas, 67, otherwise known as Guilio Villas, and his wife Jessica Lous Villas, 41 face two charges each of fraud over $5,000.

OPP confirmed that Jessica Villas worked as a special assistant for former Newfoundland and Labrador MP Judy Foote. Foote stepped away from politics in September to spend time with family. When she did, Villas was not given another position. Police said she no longer has an occupation affiliated with politics.

Officers stated that Gipse Villas is not politically affiliated at all but portrayed himself as a person with a high position and authority with political connections. Police did not release further details, saying it was possible more victims would be discovered in the ongoing investigation.

Police said the accused are known to have frequented Montreal and Kingston and are asking anyone with information to call 613-372-1932 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

They were released on a promise to appear in Sharbot Lake court on Dec. 18.

Sharbot Lake is about 125 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.

Read the full story at the Ottawa Citizen.

This story was summarized by Canadian Fraud News Inc.