Saurabh Modi moved to Canada in May and has been looking for an apartment in Nelson. He wants the community to know about a rental scam that just cost him $3,300. Photo: Tyler Harper

Saurabh Modi moved to Canada in May and has been looking for an apartment in Nelson. He wants the community to know about a rental scam that just cost him $3,300. Photo: Tyler Harper

New immigrant falls victim to Nelson rental scam

Saurabh Modi was taken for over $3,300

The victim of a rental scam in Nelson wants the community to learn from his mistake.

Saurabh Modi moved to Canada from India in May. The 30 year old lives in Castlegar but works at the Husky gas station in Nelson, where he’s been trying to find an apartment to cut down on the commute time.

Modi thought he’d found a place in early November. A listing on local rental site ilovenelson.com showed a one-bedroom apartment available for $1,100 at Alpine Lake Suites, 1102 Gordon St.

That apartment doesn’t exist.

Modi agreed to pay rent for the first and last month up front, along with a security deposit totalling $3,300, to Paul Hartley and Olasupo Kuye despite not having seen the apartment nor having met the landlords.

“[Hartley] told me he’s in Kelowna,” said Modi. “[I was asked] to deposit the cash in his account then he will come visit to show the house. I’m new to Canada so I believe in that word.”

In an email exchange, Modi asked Hartley to provide him with ID.

“I am 64 years of age and I have been in a real-estate business for more than 35 years. No tenant has ever requested for my ID and I will never do that,” replied Hartley.

“If you need to see the proof of ownership of the apartment before moving in, sure that will be shown to you when we meet at the apartment, but sending my ID to anyone, [I] won’t do that.”

Modi agreed anyway and sent Hartley the money. That was the last contact he had with him.

Alpine Lake Suites is actually owned by Anne Gover and her husband William Main, who currently live in Pincher Creek, Alta., and employ a manager to run the building.

When contacted by the Star, Gover confirmed the listing is fake and that the apartment advertised doesn’t even exist in the building.

“Alpine Lake Suites had no involvement in this ad and is an additional victim of this scam artist,” Gover said in an email.

The ad Modi responded to has since disappeared from the website.

Calls to the number provided in the ad went unanswered, but Hartley responded to an inquiry about the same apartment from an email account set up by the Star. He said he would only accept electronic deposits, would not meet with a third party in Kelowna and would not set up an appointment prior to payment.

The address supplied by Hartley and Kuye in the lease agreement, 510 Buckland Ave. in Kelowna, is a real apartment building.

An internet search shows apartment listings under Hartley’s name, as well as the name Paul Hart and the email address rentalhousing60@gmail.com have previously been flagged as scams as far away as San Francisco.

Sgt. Nate Holt of the Nelson Police Department said officers have seen a rise in rental scam reports — Modi reported his after it became clear he had lost his money — but are usually unable to investigate them unless the person behind the scam is known to live in the region.

“A lot of times these accounts are set up through a proxy and held up to be in the City of Nelson but they are overseas,” said Holt. “When it comes to that, it’s very difficult with our capability and capacity of a small department to really solve the crimes.”

Holt said he advises apartment hunters to make sure either they or a friend see the listed space in person first and also meet the landlord before making any deposit.

After this story was published online, Modi told the Star he found a place to live in Nelson.

Related:

B.C. woman has hundreds show up in $500 Craigslist rental scam

Rental scam active in Nelson



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Rebecca Neudorf and Siddhartha Minhas express the joyful atmosphere of this year’s grad cavalcade. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Nelson grads and proud parents celebrate a community milestone

Saturday’s cavalcade was graced with perfect weather

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

A bear-proof waste container at Lakeside Park. Not all garbage bins at the park are bear-proof. Photo: Tyler Harper
VIDEO: Bear observed eating from garbage bin in Lakeside Park

The City of Nelson is gradually adding bear-proof bins throughout the city

Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson. Photo: Tyler Harper
NEWS AND VIEWS: Businesses still need assistance even in a more normal summer

Tom Thomson writes about a new Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce initiative

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read