A prominent Osoyoos resort has filed a lawsuit alleging it was the victim of a scam that could have been prevented.
A B.C. Supreme Court suit filed May 31 in Vancouver, Watermark Hospitality Ltd., which operates Osoyoos' Watermark Beach Resort, names CIBC, Sealy Canada Ltd., Missing Link Resources Inc. and its president Albert Maclean, and an anonymous "John Doe," all allegedly responsible for the resort losing tens of thousands of dollars they thought were going towards purchasing new mattresses.
According to the suit, Maclean through Missing Link Resources is Watermark's Sealy Canada sales representative, with whom they have a working history.
In mid-April, Watermark placed an order for mattresses, sent to Maclean's work email. That's when the alleged scam began.
Unbeknownst to Watermark manager David McBean, according to the lawsuit, Maclean's email had been hacked, and some of the subsequent emails back and forth were actually coming from "John Doe."
Maclean sent an invoice for $52,991.68 on April 12, 2023. Later that morning "John Doe," acting as Maclean, said he needed to provide new banking information to the resort to have it paid, stating they had changed banking institutes to CIBC.
McBean sent an e-transfer to the new bank account, which showed up as "Sealy Canada Ltd" and was a CIBC account located in Toronto.
When Maclean followed up about the invoice the next day, there was confusion — McBean thought he had already paid.
With the inconsistency uncovered, McBean tried to have the e-transfer halted, but it was too late. $31,000 had already been deposited into the account of "John Doe," and while CIBC eventually blocked the account to investigate, freezing a further $21,000, they have allegedly refused to release the identity of the account holder.
According to the lawsuit, CIBC maintains that Doe "disputes the fraudulent scam and asserts that he is a supplier to the plaintiff and is entitled to the funds."
Watermark has since paid the $52,000 bill for the mattresses directly to Sealy to obtain the mattresses.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages, claiming that all named parties were negligent.
Maclean provided a statement to RCMP following the events, stating that he was "the victim of an alleged telephone fraud involving purported charges on a CIBC Visa card" in late March and that "three of Sealy Canada's clients for whom Missing Link brokered sales had issues with fraudulent instructions purportedly sent by Maclean that required the clients to change the banking details for electronic funds transfers for Sealy Canada orders" in early April, all before Watermark was targeted.
Watermark alleges that they were not informed about these incidents before their own scam, but they should have been.
The lawsuit also seeks to force CIBC to reveal the identity of "John Doe," and a return of funds.
A representative of CIBC declined comment, due to the matter being before the courts. Sealy Canada and Missing Link Resources could not immediately be reached for comment.