BC Hydro says 2018 was a record year for scams against its customers, airfare and fresh vegetables lead annual inflation to a higher level in December and B.C.’s attorney general says he’s shocked by reports money laundering in the provinces reaches into the billions of dollars. Those stories and more on Morning CHEK.

BC Hydro says a record number of customers were scammed in 2018: BC Hydro is warning customers that scammers, posing as BC Hydro employees, increased their success at stealing money by 50 per cent last year compared to 2017, leaving residents out nearly $45,000. Nanaimo is among the communities BC Hydro says is most targeted, and the scams gained momentum in 2014. The scams involve fraudsters contacting potential victims and threatening immediate disconnection if a payment is not received.

Inflation up to 2.0 per cent year-over-year in December, up to 3.2 per cent in Victoria: Air Fare and fresh vegetable’s are the key factors in Canada’s annual inflation rate accelerating to two per cent in December, up from 1.7 per cent in November. The Statistics Canada report says Canadians paid 28.1 per cent more last month for air transportation and 14.9 per cent more for fresh vegetables, while gas prices fell 8.6 per cent. Victoria’s December inflation increased to 3.2 per cent from 2.5 per cent in November.

Buzzfeed reports Trump ordered former lawyer to lie to Congress on Russian real estate project: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says he will “do what is necessary” to confirm an explosive report from Buzzfeed News. It claims U.S. President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election. Buzzfeed quotes two unnamed law enforcement officials who say that after the election, Trump instructed Cohen to say that negotiations over the building project ended months earlier than they actually did, in an attempt to quote — “obscure his involvement.”

Attorney General ‘shocked’ by reports money laundering reaches billion of dollars in B.C.: B.C.’s attorney general says he’s shocked by reports that say money laundering reaches into the billions of dollars in the province. David Eby is calling for a more co-ordinated approach between governments and police after learning of international reports and secret R-C-M-P documents estimating money laundering to be worth billions each year, just months after his government had pegged the figure at $100 million.

Saanich police search for a male suspect after a woman says she was exposed on a park trail: Saanich police are searching for a suspect in his mid-to-late teens after a woman told officers she was on the Swan Creek Park trail around 3:45 p.m Thursday afternoon and was approached by a male who exposed himself to her. Police are looking for a Caucasian male with either Asian or First Nations mix, 6’0″ tall, with short shaggy brown hair, and he was wearing a grey Gortex jacket and blue jeans.

Victoria council approves 14-story building on vacant lot: Victoria council approved a 14-story building in what is now a vacant lot on the corner of Quadra and Johnson Streets. The building will have 130 rental units as well as commercial space on the ground floor. There was overwhelming support for the project at a public hearing Thursday.

Local trucker asks for others to join in a convoy to honour Nanaimo boy: A Vancouver Island trucker is asking others to join him in paying tribute to eight-year-old Linden Baglo, who was killed when his bike collided with a truck in his Nanaimo neighbourhood. The local trucker is looking to lead a truck convoy Sunday, gathering at the Duke Point overpass at 11:45 a.m., heading to the Nanaimo Conference Centre, where a memorial service will be held.

Whiskey awards kicks off festival in Victoria: The 2019 Canadian Whiskey awards were handed out last night in Victoria. The event kicks off the Victoria Whiskey Festival, that runs through Sunday. Distillers from across the country gathered for the event at the Hotel Grand Pacific. The awards recognize the best in whisky from across the country.

Washington puppy gets a bucket list to live by: A Washington animal rescue centre is making what little time a puppy has left count. The eight-week-old German Shepherd named Logan has multiple heart conditions and vets don’t give him much time to live. So the non-profit asked supporters for a bucket list and the pup is live life according to that list. He is enjoying visits to the beach, chowing down on burgers and ice cream and getting hugs from as many people as possible.

ENTERTAINMENT
Third ‘John Wick’ movie trailer is out:
People are getting a first look at “John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum.” Keanu Reeves returns as the super-assassin, this time with a $14 million bounty on his head and an armada of killers on his tail. Halle Berry co-stars in the action thriller, which opens May 17.

‘Bird Box’ gets criticized for footage: Netflix is drawing fire for some footage used in its survival film “Bird Box.” At issue is a clip from that shows the fiery train disaster in Lac-Megantic. In 2013, an unattended train carrying crude oil rolled down an incline, came off the tracks and exploded into a fireball in the Quebec town, killing 47 people. Netflix says it has no plans to remove the clip. It says it bought it from a stock image vendor and used it in a TV news montage to set up the series, which is set in a post-apocalyptic era.

SPORTS
Royals welcome Warriors in WHL tilt: 
The Victoria Royals will try to snap a two-game slide when they entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors Friday night. It’s the first of three games in three nights for the Royals, who head south for games in Seattle and Everett this weekend.

Canucks host Sabres: After a shoot-out loss to the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks host the Buffalo Sabres Friday night. The Canucks will not have star-rookie Elias Pettersson in the line-up again. He has been out of the line-up since Jan. 3 after suffering a knee injury in Montreal.

CHEK News