In December 2020, the EPS Northeast Investigative Response Team (IRT) began identifying a series of online marketplace frauds reported between May 2020 and September 2021. In each incident, a suspect responded to an online ad on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji and, due to the pandemic, asked the seller to bring the item to a specified address for a contactless delivery. The seller then brought the item to the address, departed and waited for an e-transfer that never came.
To date, more than 70 incidents have been linked to this series, and investigators have determined the suspects collected more than $190,000 worth of property.
On Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, five men and one woman were arrested and charged in relation to the incidents. Rewan Sadullah, 21, and Corbin Budd, 21, are now facing a combined total of 163 charges, including fraud under $5,000, fraud over $5,000, identity theft, extortion and utter a forged document. Shukri Sadullah, 47, Perwin Sadullah, 42, Ravink Sadullah, 23, and Redar Sadullah, 21, are also each facing one charge of possession of stolen property.
“Concluding this investigation required reviewing a large number of online communications and would not have been possible without the work of a dedicated team of officers,” says Staff Sergeant Ahmed Alkarout with Northeast IRT.
“These accused took advantage of many people during an already tense and stressful time, and we are pleased that we are able to hold them accountable.”
Investigators continue to remind citizens to take precautions when buying or selling items online:
Online Buying and Selling Safety Tips
- Suggest meeting the buyer/seller during the day at a public location, ideally with video surveillance, such as one of the EPS Buy and Sell Exchange Zones. Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.
- Have someone come with you when you meet. If you cannot arrange for someone to accompany you, let friends or family know where you are going, what time you are meeting and all the details about who you are meeting, Let your contact know that everything is ok.
- Take screenshots of the buyer’s/seller’s contact information and all communications in the application or website you are using. Ask them for photo ID and other contact information and take a photo of it for your reference.
- As a seller, do not leave your property unattended, and do not give the buyer your property until you verify you’ve received payment.
- As a buyer, do not disclose to the seller how you will be paying if it's not necessary. Ask the seller for a bill of sale when the transaction is complete.
- If your property is stolen, report it to police.