Features | From Pivot Magazine

The most outlandish recent shams and scams

A round-up of frauds, including a Jason Statham impersonator and a high-tech Hamburglar

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actor Jason StathamA fraudster posing as actor Jason Statham scammed a U.K. woman out of hundreds of thousands of pounds (Shutterstock/Twocoms)

10,263

Number of iPhones and iPads that an accounting manager at a Toronto-area software firm allegedly purchased using a company card. Over the course of five years, she reportedly spent more than $6 million and resold the devices, pocketing the profits.

WHALING

Nickname for the type of scam that recently fooled Ottawa’s city treasurer. Impersonating one of the treasurer’s colleagues over email, a fraudster convinced her to unwittingly transfer $130,000 to an account she believed belonged to a city supplier.

“I MIGHT HAVE BEEN STAR-STRUCK”

Statement from a U.K. woman who, after losing both her mother and fiancé, fell for an online scammer posing as the actor Jason Statham. When the imposter claimed he was in financial trouble due to a delayed film payment, she transferred him hundreds of thousands of pounds.

GIFTING CIRCLES

A type of pyramid scheme that has duped more than 500 people in Saskatchewan and B.C. Members pay $5,000 to join the circle and, if they can recruit two new members, supposedly receive a gift of $40,000. A southern Alberta man was recently charged with fraud in connection to the scam.

HAMBURGLAR

Pseudonym of a cyber-villain in Quebec who recently hacked into the McDonald’s mobile apps of several unsuspecting victims to order hundreds of meals at their expense. One particularly unlucky target ended up with a bill of $2,034. At press time, the hacker was still at large—and presumably hungry.

$607,725

Amount that a former employee of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada took from the coffers of Ottawa’s Saint Luke Lutheran Church, where he was volunteer treasurer. He said he intended to use the money to build a Syrian or Qatari embassy, among other real estate projects, but church officials discovered the scheme when they examined their financial records.

$77,000,000

Estimated value of a tax-evasion case currently under investigation by the CRA. In March, 40 criminal investigators searched two Vancouver properties for evidence related to offshore tax havens revealed through the Panama Papers.

$231,345

Amount that Hamilton, Ont., man Edwin Omorogieva Woghiren recently claimed in childcare tax benefits for children that, according to the CRA, don’t actually exist.