Osoyoos’ Watermark Beach Resort is suing one of its suppliers, CIBC and a scammer after it was bilked for over $50,000.
According to a lawsuit filed May 31, the resort had been communicating with their sales agent for Sealy Canada to order new mattresses for the resort as they have previously.
What the resort didn’t know at the time, was that Albert Maclean, the sales agent, had his email hacked, and it was during Watermark’s discussions with him in April of 2023 that the scammer struck.
The scammer, who is listed as a John Doe on the suit, posed as Maclean and claimed that Sealy had changed its banking information after the real Maclean wired over the invoice for the mattresses.
The new information had an account for Sealy Canada Ltd. at CIBC, and so Watermark directed the funds to be transferred from their own bank.
Following the transfer, the next day Maclean called Watermark to discuss payment of the invoice, at which point the scam began to fall apart, but not fast enough to stop the funds from leaving Watermark’s bank.
Despite being contacted that day by Watermark’s bank, CIBC allowed the transfer to complete and then transferred $31,000 out of the fake Sealy account before it was blocked the next day.
Only about $22,000 of the original $53,000 that was transferred remains in the blocked account.
According to the lawsuit, CIBC responded to say that John Doe disputes allegations that it’s a scam and claims to be Watermark’s supplier, however the bank has refused to give over any identifying information.
In addition to suing for the return of the money Watermark was scammed out of, the company is accusing Maclean of being negligent in failing to inform them that Maclean had been a victim of a phone scam in March. That scheme had allegedly allowed the scammer that targeted Watermark to target three other clients of Maclean more than a week before they targeted the resort, although the lawsuit does not state whether they lost any money as a result.
The lawsuit claims that Maclean failed in his duty of care to change his email passwords and to inform customers after the three other companies had been targeted by fraudulent emails sent from his account.
CIBC is also cited for failing to allegedly verify the identity of the Sealy Canada Ltd. account used for the scam, and for failing to move swiftly in blocking the account before the funds could be removed.
Watermark is seeking damages, the identity of the John Doe who set up the fake Sealy account, tracing of the funds that were taken out of the fake account, costs and a return of their money.
None of the claims in the lawsuit have been proven in court and no response has yet been filed.
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