It’s been a couple of days since we told you about Ryan Fedoruk, the Canadian scammer and fake landlord who sublet 30 apartments to 80 tenants before fleeing with RMB300,000, and still, the man is nowhere to be found. Victims tell Shanghaiist they were told by police on their last check a couple of days ago that Fedoruk still hasn’t left China. But who knows? Our friend could have walked over a bridge to Vietnam without his passport, or trekked over from Tibet to India, or walked over the frozen Yalu River to the DPRK.
Eva Gao, a local lawyer who is helping out the victims on a pro-bono basis, is appealing for more victims to get in touch with her and help her piece together the evidence she needs as she communicates with the police.
Shanghaiist has also been sent pictures of Ryan Fedoruk which we have decided to publish here. We’re calling on all our readers across China and Canada now: If you see the man in the pictures below, call the police and help haul his big ass back to Shanghai to face the music!
We poked around some of Fedoruk’s online profiles here, here and here, and found that the guy has a habit of lying about his age — he claims to be 29 online when he is actually 40. Also on his Badoo profile, Fedoruk says he “wants to bear hug with a girl, 18”. What a creepy douchebag!!!
Finally, a friendly reminder for all would-be scammers: Don’t leave your pictures lying around on the internets or they could come back and bite you in the ass!
Here’s an account by a victim who reached out to Shanghaiist:
When I first found Ryan I was on a rush. It was only few months I was in Shanghai but I experienced already many problems with flats in the city. My last landlord was a very old Chinese lady and the contract she made me signed was not really a fare one and she evicted me and kept my deposit… That’s how I found Ryan. I had a look on Smartshanghai for shared flats and contacted him this way. We planned two visits on the phone for the next day; I had only 2 days to find a flat before finding myself homeless. The next morning he showed up half-an-hour late, he had a big collar around the neck and walked with crutches and I had to help him to carry medical files while he opened the door. He told me he was the landlord and owned around 10 flats in Shanghai. To be honest, I was quite relieved to have a real western landlord front of me, I don’t speak Chinese enough to be able to argue with Chinese landlords when they try to keep my deposit for themselves… and I was definitely happy to be able to understand and to speak with this Canadian guy.
As I said that I will think about the flat and won’t give him a straight answer before the evening, Ryan started to make me very cheap offers, he lowered the price, offered me a swimming-pool membership and was holding the key under my nose saying “this flat is good my dear, just take it and it is yours”. Then I left because I thought he was weird.
Then all the afternoon, he called me, to know my decision. He told me he desperately needed a tenant because he was going to surgery the next day. And the way he was walking with crutches, the medical files in his hand, his story of having a car accident… I believed him. Then I asked to have one of the tenant’s numbers, to make some inquiries. He gave one to me, and I got my soon-to-be tenant on the phone and she told me Ryan was a bit weird but he was a good landlord, respectful, reliable and that the flat was very good. Then I said “yes”.
Ryan picked me up with his taxi where I was and he took me to his place. I was very cautious, you know, I asked many questions, asked for a real contract, read everything, asked for a deposit receipt and he gave me his passport photocopy as a proof of his good will. I had told him on the phone about all my previous issues with flats in Shanghai, the difficulties to communicate with Chinese Landlords, my previous deposit which had been taken from me and he replied me with a text I still have: “I understand my dear .. I hear that a lot about landlords .. but I am good guy”.
I signed the contract and he signed it, he told me there was a form in the flat in Chinese to register at the Police and that the flatmates usually do that. Then, on the evening I was moving in.
Two weeks later, the 2nd of January, my Kazakh flatmate (she can speak Chinese) got a phone call from Chinese people who stated to be the landlords for the place we were renting. My flatmate was in holidays in Beijing, she was shocked to hear that these so-called-landlords had not been paid for January rent by Ryan, that we should move out straight away from the flat. She managed to negotiate and asked them a delay, because she was not in Shanghai, so they give us three days to leave.
During three days, on the phone, she tried to negociate with the landlords. Ryan had already disappeared, he couldn’t be reached whatsoever and we started to get in touch with other tenants evicted and hear about the lawyer Eva and the entire story. We were so shocked! I couldn’t believe it! Unfortunately the landlords didn’t want to negotiate with us, they asked for January rent, but I already paid for January and February! And I realized that my room was far underpriced anyway.
As I am working full-time, and I don’t have that much time for myself to sort all this out without interfering with my professional life, so I started to move out on the 4th of January 2012 at 9pm, knowing that we would be evicted the following day, on a week day. I made few calls to be sure someone could host me and all my stuff. Then with all my flatmates and some friends coming to help we packed everything. I had only been in Shanghai for few months, but some others were there for years and we helped each other to pack our lives in boxes and luggage. At 2a.m we were ready, we called 5 taxis downstairs, filled them with our stuff and leave the place like robbers, trumps in the middle of the night, hoping we didn’t forget anything.
It was a good idea to move out in the middle of night since the next morning the actual landlords changed the lock of the front door, to be sure we will never come again, as one of my ex-roommate figured out when she realized she forgot something in her former room.
We cannot blame the landlord, obviously! Everyone lost money with Ryan’s business! The landlords lost a month of rent and his tenants, but we, tenants, lost everything: the deposit, 2 months of rent and a roof over our head. I lost 6.600RMB, but most of all is the psychological loss of a “home sweet home” as we would like to have in a foreign country.
What makes me even sadder is that one of my flatmate was supposed to leave the flat at the end of January, so Ryan found a nice Chinese girl to replace her for the beginning of February. Poor girl! She signed the contract, gave the money, got a key, but what will happen when she will come with all her belongings the 1st of February? A closed flat, no tenants, nowhere to go! We tried to find some way to contact her, but unfortunately none of us get her number.
Ryan screwed all our lives. He changed my life and spoiled my stay in China. Now I am living in the middle of some boxes and pieces of luggage, at friend’s place. I am searching for flats but I don’t trust anyone any more. It is seems to me that everyone is going to steal the little money I still have. And I am still working full-time besides it! What a life! I cancelled my holidays in Beijing and I borrowed some money to be able to pay another flat when I find one.
Well, that’s my story. Hope it can help, hope someone will find him wherever he is. I don’t have great hope to see my money back, but I long for him to be punished, so that he doesn’t start his little business in some other place. And so that maybe the situation will change in China regarding laws and Police help and renting agreements.