Calgary Romeo racks up almost $25K from victims in bogus tech scams

Click to play video: 'Calgary man charged in fraud and romance scams in Alberta and BC'
Calgary man charged in fraud and romance scams in Alberta and BC
A Calgary man faces dozens of fraud- and theft-related charges stemming from complaints in Alberta and BC. Tomasia DaSilva spoke to some of his alleged victims. – Feb 23, 2022

A silver-tongued Calgary man is facing a number of charges after it’s alleged he swindled more than $25,000 from dozens of victims.

Police said the man, 36-year-old Bryan Christopher Syryda was reported to CPS back in 2020 after several people at that time alleged to have given him money in return for discounted tech items such as televisions.

The victims were told by Syryda he worked for well-known tech companies and had access to electronics at discounted and group rates. At that time, several charges were laid by police.

Ryan Massel was one of Syryda’s alleged victims.

“He showed up at events and parties and he was always a friend of a friend,” Massel told Global News.

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“He tried to become everybody’s friend,” Massel said, adding that he believes Syryda would tell people things that were not true.

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Massel said he agreed to buy nearly $3,000-worth of consumer electronics after Syryda claimed to work for a high-profile manufacturer.

Massel said Syryda’s conversations were especially convincing after teasing out information about his personal life.

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“He’ll say, ‘I know your mom lives in Saskatchewan, so you know, maybe you get her an iPod for Christmas. That way, you’ll be able to see her when you talk to her because she’s older,’” Massel recounted.

“He really kind of plays on those moments where you’re like, ‘This is a great idea. Wouldn’t that be nice for me to see my mom’s face.’”

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Massel said he contacted CPS in 2019 after multiple apparent attempts to stall and delay by Syryda to get his money back.

By August 2021, CPS started to receive additional complaints against the man — this time from several people in British Columbia. Victims there fell for the same scam by Syryda where it’s alleged he offered high-end electronics in exchange for cash, and then the items were never delivered.

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As investigators delved into the allegations, they became aware of several local Calgary women who met the Syryda by online dating sites such as Bumble and Plenty of Fish.

In a news release, police said the man treated the woman to “extravagant outings” and would offer the same bogus tech deals to the women along with their friends.

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Police said they believe the money Syryda used to “woo the women” on the dates was obtained through earlier scams and was then intended to groom the victims into trusting the man and giving him their money.

As before, no items were ever delivered to those who paid anywhere from a few hundred dollars, while others were duped out of thousands.

In many of the cases, victims convinced their family members and friends to take advantage of the bogus electronics deal. CPS said victims have been located in Langley, Surrey, Delta, Cochrane and Calgary.

Massel said the realization that he was one of many who feel bilked by Syryda was “like a gut punch.”

“We have these conversations and hope that it won’t happen to other people. Yes, it’s embarrassing. Yes, you feel stupid. Yes, you think it will never happen to you. And when it does, I need to tell the story because, goodness sakes, I’d hate for this to continue to happen to others.”

Click to play video: 'Scams cost Canadians more than $230M in 2021'
Scams cost Canadians more than $230M in 2021

Syryda is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000 with additional charges pending. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 29, 2022.

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The allegations against Syryda have not yet been tested in court.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a fraud is asked to call the police at 403-266-1234.

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