Our In Your Corner team has new details involving an out-of-state trade show promoter we've been tracking for some time now.
He’s accused of scamming countless small business owners nationwide, including some in Oklahoma.
During our one and only conversation with the man, he gave us a fake name and California business address.
We've learned his real name is Justin Stuart, a Canadian.
Investigators say he was running a bogus trade show scam out of his home in Kingston, Ontario.
Kingston Police Detective Constable, Dan Silver said, “He's been charged with seven counts of fraud and one count of money laundering.”
The charges were filed on behalf of vendors like Edmond chiropractor Brad Finley.
“The agreement was I'd pay him $850 for the show,” he said. “Then I show up that Friday morning and I see an empty building that should be set up for a show.”
Stuart's been on our radar for months, but for the longest time we couldn't pinpoint his exact whereabouts.
But then we received a tip from Canadian authorities who were building their own case against Stuart.
We helped expose a trail of alleged fraud spanning parts of Canada and the U.S.
“In Maryland for example, there were 41 businesses that we know of,” Silver said. “And just from Maryland, our understanding is that the total amount lost by those businesses is over $70,000.
So far he's pointing the blame at everyone, except himself.
“What you care about is putting on a show to make people look bad who haven't done anything wrong,” Stuart said. “That's all you care about to get your ratings. You don't care about anything besides that.”
While the victims in this case live in the U.S. the actual crimes were committed in Canada.
So the real challenge now for investigators is getting U.S. victims to a Canadian courtroom to testify. Stuart is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. We'll keep you posted on the case.
In Your Corner Bottom line:
- Be wary of some online trade show promoters
- Check out the trade show company online
- Contact venue directly to make sure promoter's reservation with facility is legit