Disturbing past of man suspected in B.C. rental scam revealed
A man accused of pulling off a heartless rental scam on Vancouver Island, defrauding single mothers for thousands of dollars, was once alleged to have faked his own death to escape a sexual assault charge, CTV News has learned.
The man, who uses the alias Jason LeBlanc, allegedly posed as the owner of the Colwood home he was renting a bedroom in to defraud several families out of damage deposits.
Some of the families even showed up at the front door of the home only to be met by the actual homeowner, who contacted police.
An investigation was launched and RCMP say they're looking for the man and other possible victims. West Shore RCMP spokesperson
Const. Nancy Saggar said charges will likely be recommended once investigators can determine the man's true identity.
CTV News has learned that the man is also known as Jeremy Oakley.
The owner of the Colwood home and victim Jessica Wilson each identified photos of Oakley as the man who allegedly perpetrated the scheme.
Oakley shares the same name as a man wanted for similar crimes that took place outside of Halifax, N.S. in 2011.
Halifax police said at the time the man was hired to do renovation work at a building and instead posed as a landlord, scamming prospective tenants out of their damage deposits.
According to media reports at the time, a Jeremy Oakley was also once charged with sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl in Nanaimo in 2003, but those charges were later stayed after he allegedly faked his own death by publishing an obituary claiming he'd been killed in a Toronto car crash.
BC RCMP confirmed Friday that Oakley was eventually convicted on the sexual assault charge in March 2009.
An article in Maclean's magazine published in 2008 said investigators realized Oakley was alive when he was fingerprinted as the result of an unrelated child pornography investigation.
B.C. court records also show a raft of charges and convictions against a Jeremy Daniel Oakley.
The charges include convictions for theft under $5,000 or under in Vernon in 1999, theft of $5,000 or under in Hope in 2002 and a pair of breach of probation charges in Victoria in 2017.
Last year, Mounties issued a news release indicating Jeremy Daniel Oakley, 46 years old at the time, had gone missing, possibly on Salt Spring Island.
Oakley has not been charged in connection with the Colwood rental scam and none of the allegations against him has been tested or proven in court.