Two international students from Japan say they were scammed out of thousands of dollars by a man posing as a landlord for a downtown condo. What’s more: he might be wanted across the country.
Yuko Nade and Yoichi didn’t know each other when they separately handed over thousands of dollars in rent to the same man, for the same Front Street condo.
Yoichi handed over $5,600 while Nade paid nearly $8,000 in cash, which ostensibly covered several months’ rent.
The man purporting to be the landlord, Bum Joon Kim, gave different reasons for why he needed the cash up front. Both say they were promised move-in dates earlier this month, just days apart.
As of Wednesday, neither had been given keys or received their money back.
Nade said she is still in contact with Kim, but he’s evading her attempts to get her money back.
A CityNews investigation revealed this is not the first time Kim has been accused of fraud.
A Coquitlam, B.C., man who also claims to be a victim created a website warning others about the alleged fraudster.
Simon Kim (no relation) hired Kim to work at his restaurant equipment business in 2014 after another employee quit. He said Bum Joon Kim had worked for him for four months, but when Simon Kim confronted him about irregular transactions, he never saw his employee again.
Simon Kim said he lost between $40,000 and $50,000.
“A lot of the victims that he targets are immigrants, where English isn’t their first language — or in this case right now, international students, where they think they have no recourse,” Simon Kim claimed. “That’s why I wanted to be proactive, because I knew that a lot of people were not.”
Simon Kim said more people have contacted him via his website alleging to have been targeted by Bum Joon Kim, including Nade and four others in the GTA..
CityNews visited the Front Street condo Bum Joon Kim said he owned and was trying to rent. A concierge said he didn’t recognize Kim’s picture. He also confirmed the 10th-floor unit which Kim was allegedly trying to rent out, wasn’t listed under Kim’s name.
Nade said Kim showed her another building near Dundas Street West and University Avenue, but she turned it down because it was being rented to multiple tenants and she didn’t want a roommate she didn’t know. Building residents said they saw Kim bringing people into the building.
The unit owner said he sublet his place to Kim from mid-September to mid-October, and he had no idea several students may have been staying there.
The RCMP in Coquitlam has confirmed there is a warrant out for Kim’s arrest on 13 fraud-related charges.
Toronto police said they are also investigating.