Calgary Police have issued a province-wide warrant for a women they believe is involved in a series of frauds.
Denise Whalen is wanted for 15 counts of fraud under $5,000 after she failed to appear in court on May 1.
On April 16, police charged Whalen, 51, of Calgary, with three counts of fraud under $5,000 and was released on bail.
After the media attention paid to these charges, police say several other similar complaints came in.
In each case, victims stated they had answered an Internet ad about a house or condo for rent. In order to secure the rental, each victim had given a woman a cash deposit.
Police say they later learned the house was not available for rent and the woman did not have the authority to rent out the home. They weren’t able to contact the person to whom they gave their money.
Most of these incidents were alleged to have happened between March 2009 and mid-April 2009. Two of the incidents are alleged to have happened after April 17.
Whalen is described as 5’3” tall, about 180 lbs., with brown hair, brown eyes and wears glasses. It is believed she has also been using the names "Denise Easton," "Denise Van Esch" and "Ellie.”
Anyone with information about Whalen’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 266-1234. Anyone who has been a victim of such a scam should call the the commercial crime unit at 403-206-8386.
To avoid getting caught in one of these scams, the police urge people to confirm that the property exists, is for rent, and the landlord or property manager is the person he or she claims to be. Ask the landlord to provide information showing they own the property, such as land title certification, tax assessments, etc.