Man sentenced to 3.5 years in jail for ‘sophisticated’ Victoria rental scams

CHEK
Brandon Wildman is pictured in this handout photo from VicPD.

A 43-year-old man has been convicted of seven counts of fraud under $5,000 following a series of “sophisticated” rental scams in Victoria, many of which involved short-term vacation rentals like AirBnB.

Local police first started investigating the man, Brandon Wildman, in spring of 2022.

Between March and July of that year, Victoria police say Wildman defrauded nine victims of more than $9,000 by collecting fake damage deposits and first month’s rent payments.

Wildman would lure his victims in by advertising rentals in the downtown area, even going as far as showing victims the inside of units, signing fake lease agreements, and calling victims’ references.

After giving victims tours of units, he would then collect security deposits ranging from $750 to $2,250, and sometimes even hand victims fobs that he said would activate once tenancy began.

“As the move-in date approached, Wildman would cease communication with the prospective tenants, some who then found out that the unit they rented was actually a short-term vacation rental,” said VicPD in a release Thursday.

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Brandon Wildman is pictured in this handout photo from VicPD.

On Sept. 21, 2022, police announced Wildman and one other suspect had been arrested for the scams.

Days later, a victim told CHEK News they were out $1,800 after they fell for the scam.

The victim, whose identity CHEK News is protecting, was moving from Alberta to Victoria for school with her boyfriend when she saw an ad for a one-bedroom apartment on Craigslist.

“We saw the place and we saw this guy multiple times, he let us into multiple buildings,” said the woman. “He called our references, he went through and ticked all the boxes.”

READ MORE: One of at least 10 victims in elaborate rental scam speaks out

On Thursday, VicPD said Wildman was sentenced to 42 months in jail. He’s also been ordered to pay restitution to the victims when he’s released.

Police add that Wildman has eight previous convictions for fraud.

With files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera

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