Kingston Police charge three people in province-wide fraud scheme

Kingston Police 3

Three Kingston residents have been charged in police allege was a theft and fraud scheme targeting retailers across the province. 

Kingston Police said an investigation began in November with the help of other police agencies after numerous theft and fraud incidents were reported at big box stores and hardware stores spanning from Toronto to Ottawa. 

Police said the scheme involved two people who would buy expensive products in the stores and then return later and use their previous receipts to leave with the same item. Someone would then come back a third time and return the product for a full refund. 

Investigators believe the trio arrested are responsible for about 57 different incidents between May and October 2020. 

The three accused were arrested on New Years Eve, a man and woman at a west-end Kingston resident and another woman was taken into custody in the north-end. 

Derek Bennett, 51, and Sherri Allen, 45, both face 26 charges each including two counts of theft over $5000, two counts of fraud over $5000, possession of proceeds of property over $5000, ten counts of theft under $5000 and eleven counts of fraud under $5000.

Victoria Wales, 51, faces 20 charges including two counts of theft over $5000, two counts of fraud over $5000, possession of proceeds of property over $5000, seven counts of theft under $5000, six counts of fraud under $5000 and two counts of failing to comply with release order.

Kingston Police said the investigation into the thefts is continuing and more charges are possible. It said the scheme cost retailers about $100,000 and that one store alone lost $35,000.