Two dozen charges filed against N.L. woman for alleged pet scams

·2 min read
Brittany Mahaney/Facebook

A Newfoundland and Labrador woman has been charged with fraud and identity theft, just days after CBC Investigates reported on alleged pet scams victimizing people across Canada.

Brittany Osborne, 25, was arrested Friday and appeared in provincial court Saturday.

According to court documents, Osborne is facing a total of 24 charges, including defrauding people of hundreds of dollars and falsely selling kittens and dogs on Kijiji.

She is also charged with possessing the identity of Natalie Lenstra, including her Canadian Kennel Club registration and Canadian passport, which police say were "intended to be used to commit the indictable offence of fraud."

On Thursday, CBC Investigates reported on the claims of multiple people who said they paid hundreds of dollars in e-transfers for puppies they never received.

They said they had placed "dog wanted" ads on Kijiji and then received a response from a woman claiming to have the puppy they were looking for.

The victims sent deposits of between $150 and $500 each.

After the deposits were sent, some people said they asked to do a video chat so they could see their new dog, but they were met with radio silence.

Two dog breeders, including Lenstra, said their identities had been compromised as part of these alleged scams.

Lenstra told CBC Investigates that she had spoken to about 35 people who say they were victimized, losing between $150 and $700 each.

Osborne is also charged with resisting an RCMP officer by allegedly destroying evidence related to a criminal investigation.

She is also accused of breaching a previous court order that barred her from accessing online marketplaces like Kijiji.

Osborne has been remanded in custody and will appear in court for a bail hearing on Monday.

The RCMP are also expected to release more details next week.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador