Two people from Victoria, B.C., have been charged with fraud under $5,000 after allegedly posing as Fort McMurray evacuees.
Daryl Rondeau came to Claresholm claiming that his house had burnt down in the fire. Many in the community were generous, donating gift cards, clothes, and money.
In an article in the Claresholm Local Press, Rondeau told his tale saying “we got out of the town with the fire on our trail.”
But Rondeau’s story quickly came under scrutiny.
The Claresholm Family and Community Support Services, conducted a background check and eventually filed a complaint with RCMP. Days later, Daryl Rondeau was charged with one count of fraud under $5,000.
On May 24, 39-year-old Jaime Lynn Cox was charged with five counts of fraud under $5,000.
“If there were 10 people downtown that ended up giving them money, then that could be 10 separate charges,” Claresholm RCMP Cpl. Dalyn Olsen said. “There’s going to be consequences for what they did. It’s unfortunate that these two people are taking advantage of the generosity of residents here.”
In hopes of avoiding similar situations, RCMP are reminding the public to donate through the proper channels.
“If people want to help out, contact your Red Cross, your organizations you’re certain are going to get the money where it needs to be,” Olsen said.
RCMP said Cox is scheduled to appear in Fort McLeod Provincial Court on June 1 at 10 a.m.
Rondeau pleaded guilty to his charge Wednesday.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally posted on May 20 and was updated May 26 when charges against Cox were also laid.
With files from Emily Mertz and Stephanie Irvine, Global News