RCMP lay new fraud charges in Fort McMurray evacuee investigation

Police have now charged the girlfriend of a man who told residents of Claresholm, Alta., that they had lost everything in the Fort McMurray fire.

Woman and man now both accused of impersonating wildfire evacuees in Claresholm, Alta.

Darryl Rondeau and Jaime Lynn Cox were featured in a local newspaper as fire evacuees when they first arrived in Claresholm, Alta. (Rob Vogt/Claresholm Local Press)

Police have now charged the girlfriend of a man who told residents of Claresholm, Alta., that they had lost everything in the Fort McMurray fire.

Jaime Lynn Cox, 39, is charged with five counts of fraud under $5,000. She is scheduled to appear in Fort MacLeod provincial court on June 1. 

Darryl Rondeau, 45, has already pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Darryl Rondeau, 45, pleaded guilty to fraud under $5,000 on May 22 for pretending to be a Fort McMurray evacuee. (Darryl Rondeau/Facebook)

Earlier this month, Rondeau was accused of telling people in Claresholm that he and his girlfriend were left destitute by the Fort McMurray fire.

The town welcomed the couple with open arms, and locals pitched in to buy them clothes, give them free meals in restaurants and even put them up in an RV in the town's campsite.

Story didn't add up, say RCMP

But after a few days, police started to notice some elements of their story didn't add up, and Rondeau was charged with fraud under $5,000.

RCMP Cpl. Dalyn Orsten said the first red flag was that Rondeau didn't register with the Red Cross. Police say the investigation is continuing and more charges will likely be laid.

British Columbia court records show Darryl Lincoln Rondeau, born in 1970, was convicted in March of possession of stolen property under $5,000 in the Victoria suburb of Oak Bay. That conviction relates to a charge from January of this year.

Facebook page for Lincoln Darryl Rondeau lists his home as Fort McMurray and says he is from Duncan, B.C., a community north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

CBC News attempted to contact Rondeau but did not hear back from him.

With files from The Canadian Press