Can you get much lower than defrauding a young single mother who wants only to find a home for their children, not just once but potentially dozens of times? This seems to be the case in this local Barrie story of alleged rental fraud, the claims of which have been made by as many as twenty local women.
Last week we saw a post by Barrie hair stylist Melissa Ferguson who went on Facebook Live to expose a pattern of fairly obvious deception that had been undertaken by a Barrie woman who claimed to own a home that we are told she wanted to rent specifically to single mothers fleeing abuse.
However, according to her own texts and Facebook Messages, once a lease was signed and money was paid, this ‘landlord’ started playing tenant shuffle, refusing to allow any of those she had taken money from to move into the house. She also appears to have established a pattern of taking money from one new ‘tenant’ to partially pay back another, often when threatened with police intervention. We are also told that in several cases, she just kept the first and last months rent with no offer to refund anything.
We offered to tell the story, and Barrie mothers Shay McCleary, and Kendall MacPherson agreed to meet with us at Beauty & Babes, a hair salon owned by Ferguson. We learned that all three had filed statements with the Barrie Police Services, and that they were happy to answer our questions and provide evidence of their claims. The ‘landlord’ has not responded to our attempts to communicate.
To the best of our knowledge, despite being contacted, no other Barrie media has reported in any depth about this story.
Concern was expressed by one of the victims of this apparent fraud regarding the speed at which the Barrie Police Services responded to the multiple but unconnected allegations. However, we have not ascertained the official side of the story. Regardless, we are advised that the ‘landlord’ has been arrested and charged after more than a dozen women went to police after learning that they were part of what appears to have been a massive scheme to defraud that was evidently targeted at single mothers.
None of us can do anything about the alleged fraud. That is now in the hands of the police and our criminal justice system. We can, however, help these mothers and their children to find homes.
Many people in Barrie have empty mother-in-law suites or vacant rooms left by kids who have moved on with their lives. Even on a temporary basis, please consider renting space to any of the dozen or more women and children who have reported being defrauded.
If you can do so, please consider helping them. Comments sent to us directly will be forwarded to the women we interviewed.
Please help if you can. If you can't help directly, then please share this video so others can learn about this story and possibly help the mothers and children in need.
Winter is coming, and nobody wants to see them on the street or mothers returning to bad situations just to provide a home for their children. These women did nothing wrong, and they need our help.
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Videography by John Ironside and Tiffany Scott
Post-Production by John Ironside