NEWS

Pregnant Toronto mother helps nab alleged fraudster

05/08/2013 09:11 EDT | Updated 07/08/2013 05:12 EDT
A woman who allegedly tried to rent the same Toronto apartment multiple times has been arrested, thanks in large part to the determination of a pregnant mother not to be defrauded.

Police say it's another case of internet fraud — something which is becoming all too common.

In this instance, an ad for a rental apartment was placed on the Kijiji website.

Caitlin Vanderkley — six-months pregnant and with a 10-month-old at home — started hunting for a bigger apartment, along with her husband.

They found the ad on Kijiji and met with a woman named Febe Anne Yap who showed them a suite at 19 Singer Court.

The couple said they were asked to put money down, fast. They signed a lease and handed over a cheque for $3,700.

"The cheques cleared. About three days after I gave them, she had cashed them," said Vanderkley.

But instead of being in a new apartment, the couple and their toddler are living in her mother's spare bedroom.

Turns out there was no apartment for rent and the alleged fraudster had absconded with the funds.

Police allege a similar scenario played out with at least 10 others.

The scam was the same: the accused would come and show prospective renters an apartment. If they liked it, she would ask for a deposit of first and last months' rent.

But Vanderkley didn't sit back. She took things into her own hands.

She organized another meeting with the accused and had the police show up.

"I literally said to her, 'You're not going anywhere. I'm not letting you out of my sight until the cops are here,'" she told CBC News.

Yap was arrested.

The accused is known to police and has previous fraud-related charges that are currently before the courts.

Both Vanderkley and police have the same message for others: do your research before handing over any money.

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