A Bedford family is trying to warn others about a convicted fraud artist who they say has cost a 13-year-old boy the custom computer he was hoping for for Christmas.
Michelle and Stephen Sheehan responded to an ad on Kijiji, offering to build a gaming computer for $1,000.
The advertisement was posted by Mike Ogden, who exchanged texts with Stephen Sheehan to discuss exactly what they wanted in the computer.
The Sheehans said Ogden told them to email transfer the money to him so he could buy the parts to begin assembling their computer. He promised to have the computer ready in a matter of days.
"We got into Christmas and it was three or four days after Christmas and he just kept putting us off so suspicions started to arise. He had an excuse, that he had to work or he got caught in a snowstorm," Michelle Sheehan said.
"Things just weren't starting to add up."
It was then that the Sheehans searched Ogden's name online.
"My husband contacted him by text message because that's the only way that you could get through to him," Michelle Sheehan said.
"We had found your name online and that you have been in jail previously for fraud related charges. We don't want to be responsible for you to be having to go back to jail. We just want our money back or to build my son's computer."
Halifax Regional Police Const. Pierre Bourdages confirmed police have dealt with Ogden in the past.
"Mr. Ogden was charged in 2008 and 2010 for some frauds," said Bourdages. "At least one of these matters is still before the courts."
Reimbursed for $273
After the text message from the Sheehans talking about his prior charges, Ogden contacted them.
"He decided that he would return the money to us," Michelle Sheehan said. "He said he just had to return the computer parts first and then would be able to pay us."
Three days ago, Ogden reimbursed the Sheehans $273. They haven't been able to reach him since.
"If you don't have a clear line of communication with the individual you deal with, it should raise a flag," Bourdages said.
Michelle Sheehan said the family has learned a hard lesson and one of the hardest parts of the experience was breaking the news to her son.
"He had gotten really good grades, so he had to work towards getting this computer for school, getting good grades and good behaviour," she said.
"He really put a lot into it and then we had to deliver the news that this is what happened."
Michelle Sheehan has tried to deliver a message to Ogden.
"I've even asked him as a mother, 'Please, my son wants his computer. Can you just return the money?'" she said.
"Do you not have any feelings whatsoever?"