EDMONTON – A 24-year-old woman is facing fraud charges in connection with an alleged scheme preying on the generosity of those who want to help southern Alberta flood victims.
On Saturday, police officers were flagged down by a person who believed a woman, resembling the photo released by Edmonton police, was inside a west-end grocery store soliciting donations.
Police found the woman inside the grocery store and arrested her. Shalayne Whitney Lewis has been charged with four counts of fraud and possession of instruments for forgery.
Investigators believe Lewis was falsely soliciting the sale of donuts in the Edmonton area, claiming sales would support Southern Alberta flood victims.
Police say a table was set up at Edmonton City Centre last week where Krispy Kreme donuts were sold.
The people selling the donuts allegedly told customers the money would be going towards victims of the flooding that has impacted hundreds of thousands of Albertans since June 20.
Police say the suspects did not accept cash – only credit cards – and then defrauded the victims of thousands of dollars.
According to investigators, a number of victims have come forward.
Global News has spoken to one of the alleged victims.
Vera, who doesn’t want to reveal her last name, says she and a co-worker were among the victims who purchased donuts from Lewis at City Centre Mall.
According to Vera, Lewis told the pair she was raising money for the flood victims in southern Alberta and volunteered at every opportunity.
Vera says she received a call from her credit card provider the next day and was told her credit card had been compromised in Washington State for about $1,000.
“Albertans are generous people: we help each other when we are down and fill each other’s cup. This girl tried to cash in on the generosity and sympathy of us… I hope she faces the full force of the law,” says Vera.
Anyone who might have also fallen victim to this alleged scheme is asked to contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
Police are warning people to make sure they are donating to legitimate organizations.
© Shaw Media, 2013