04/02/2014 04:19 EDT | Updated 06/01/2014 05:59 EDT

Facebook Pet Seller Rian Hicks Facing Fraud Charge

A Bonavista man now living in Montreal who sells pets to Newfoundlanders through his Facebook page is facing a fraud charge in his home province.

​Rian Hicks, 32, is charged with one count of fraud under $5,000.

It's alleged that he defrauded "monies and/or goods" below that value from a woman in St. John's last May.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary confirmed that the fraud charge was filed "in relation to a dog."

Hicks is due to appear in provincial court in St. John's on April 8.

CBC Investigates reached Hicks by phone at his Montreal home on Tuesday. He declined comment when asked about the charge and court date.

Facebook controversy

In November, CBC Investigates found that Hicks was embroiled in disputes with several of his Facebook customers.

The customers claimed they had each paid Hicks hundreds of dollars to cover the price of the animals and shipping costs, but months later, hadn't received their promised pets.

Meanwhile, Hicks told CBC Investigates at the time that he had hundreds of happy customers in Newfoundland, and maintained that he hadn't done anything wrong.

"The people that [are] sending me the money for animals, is either they're not finished sending me the money that they owe me for the animals, or they're too cheap to pay for the shipping to get them home," Hicks said in November.

Hicks still has many pets for sale on his public Facebook profile, with dozens of pictures of different breeds of cats and dogs, from boxers and Boston terriers to Yorkies, Chihuahuas, and Himalayan kittens.

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