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Man wanted by Toronto police in condo rental fraud investigation

Click to play video: 'Alleged rental fraud expands from 1 building to 2'
Alleged rental fraud expands from 1 building to 2
Fri, Dec 1: As more alleged fraud victims come forward, Global News has learned renters were also being shown suites in a second west-end condo. Shallima Maharaj reports – Dec 1, 2017

Toronto police say at they are looking for a man wanted in connection with an alleged rental scam at a condo building in the city’s west end.

The news comes after a Global News report Wednesday about a prospective tenant who responded to a Kijiji ad for a bachelor unit in a new condo development near Park Lawn Road and Lake Shore Boulevard West.

Claire Hay arranged for a viewing and was met by a man who identified himself as the owner. After touring the unit, she sent $2,600 for first and last month’s rent. However, she later came across another ad and it was similar to the one she had responded to.

“Just with a little bit of a higher price on Kijiji,” she recalled. “Then I had my friend contact the person … and it ended up being the same landlord – Femi,” Hay told Global News.

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READ MORE: Police investigating after alleged scam bilks west-end Toronto condo hunters

Femi Agunbiade was identified by another prospective renter Global News spoke with Wednesday.

Shocked that the unit she paid for was still being rented to others, Hay posted about her experience on Facebook. Hay said she also filed a report with police.

After hearing about the story on Global News, Bernisha Thomas said Thursday she too responded to the rental ad.

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After seeing the unit, she said she was told by a man who identified himself as Jide Agunbiade that the condo would be available as of Dec. 1 because he needed to move out and get a bigger place since his daughter was coming to live with him.

READ MORE: Brampton man charged with fraud in alleged apartment rental scam

Thomas said she filled out a lease application, but concerns began to arise.

“He told me that he wasn’t checking credit, that he cared about you as a person and not what your financial background was and that he just needed two references that were personal,” Thomas said, adding the unit was noticeably cheaper compared to similar condo apartments in the area.

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“I started looking into him myself and through looking into him, I ended up finding out it wasn’t his name on the ownership of that unit.”

Thomas said she emailed the man to ask about writing into the lease agreement a guarantee of compensation if she didn’t get the keys to the unit.

“He responded to the email and said, ‘On the signature page you can write whatever you want and I’ll sign it,’ so I said, ‘OK,’ and I never responded after that. He sent me another email follow up basically saying, ‘If I don’t hear from you in the next few hours, I’m going to move onto my second choice.'”

She said she never heard from the man again.

Several sources identified Jide as Femi’s brother. Global News attempted to speak with Femi and Jide Agunbiade, but has not been able to reach them.

READ MORE: How to protect yourself with rental scams on the rise

Toronto Police Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said officers have received at least five reports connected to postings for the condo unit and investigators are looking to speak with Femi.

“We are looking for the person who is responsible and the name that was given to police,” she said.

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“We are in the process of trying to find this person and at this point he is wanted for at least four counts (of fraud under $5,000).”

Douglas-Cook said they’re focused on one person and are looking into the possibility others are involved. Anyone who has information about the incident or potential victims are asked to call Toronto Police 22 Division at 416-808-2200.

With files from Oriena Vuong

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