'Professional tenant' accused of failing to pay for more than just apartment
James Regan, 62, alleged to have avoided payments on furniture, automobiles, phone service
The Toronto man accused of being a well-dressed "professional tenant" who hasn't paid his rent at three high-end apartments since 2014 is also accused of not paying for furniture, not returning new test cars and using another person's credit card without permission.
James Regan, 62, went before the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board this month, fighting to stay at the Avenue Road apartment where he has lived since July 1 without paying any rent.
Before that, Regan lived in a condominium near Old Mill Road and Bloor Street West for eight months without paying any rent. Regan previously lived in a luxury condominium near Lake Shore Boulevard West and Humber Bay Park Road West for a year without paying any rent, according to court documents.
And several people have since contacted CBC News alleging that apartments aren't the only thing Regan has avoided paying for.
Terry Finlay first met Regan when he walked into his Rosedale furniture store Chair Table Lamp on New Year's Day 2015.
"He was very well-coiffed, well-dressed, well-spoken," Finlay said in an interview. "He obviously had good taste."
But Finlay now refers to Regan as a "con man" and thinks he should be behind bars.
"I don't know why you and I should go to work every day when he can get everything he needs without having to pay for it."
Finlay says that on the day Regan came to his store, he picked out $18,000 worth of furniture, including a high-end English dining room set, a leather couch and a leather sofa bed.
They agreed to a payment plan, Finlay says, with Regan to provide a deposit when the furniture was delivered.
But on delivery day, Finlay says Regan, who had told him he was a lawyer, was rushing out the door for a meeting with a "sports figure at the Air Canada Centre."
Regan promised to deliver cheques the next day, but that never happened, Finlay says, and the excuses continued.
"Constantly the same sort of thing: I'm out of town, I had to fly here, I had to fly there. A very important, busy guy who had a lot of places to go," Finlay says.
Finally, after Finlay threatened to go to the police, he says Regan dropped off postdated cheques from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. But when Finlay tried to cash the first one, he found a stop payment order had been put on it.
Finlay says Regan has had the furniture for more than 18 months and has yet to pay a dime.
He believes that was the man's plan all along.
"Probably from Day 1 he had no intention of ever paying me," Finlay says. "I think that's fraud."
Toronto police disagreed when Finlay filed a report with them. He says the investigator he was dealing with at 53 Division gave him the impression that his matter wasn't "big enough" for police to be interested.
Finlay says he was told that police handled fraud cases for hundreds of thousands of dollars and that his best approach was a civil lawsuit.
He filed a lawsuit last week claiming more than $24,000 in damages.
"I anticipate there's not going to be any money. I'd be happy to get my furniture back."
Regan refused to respond to Finlay's allegations and the police report, although CBC News contacted him about them several times.
A Toronto car dealer alleges Regan took a vehicle home and kept it for several days, forcing managers to "jump through hoops" to get it back.
Jim Hamilton, general manager of Yorkdale Ford Lincoln, says Regan came into the dealership late one Saturday evening about 18 months ago.
Regan was looking to buy a Ford Escape on 100 per cent financing.
He negotiated a deal and filled out a credit application, Hamilton says, but wanted to take the vehicle home that night. The dealership gave Regan the car since the application had his personal information and address.
But, Hamilton says, on the following Monday, Ford contacted the dealership needing more information about Regan.
"They wanted information to verify who he was, proof of income and a T4."
When managers at the dealership tried to reach Regan, they couldn't, Hamilton says.
"He dragged it out for a week or longer to hold onto the vehicle."
Hamilton says he contacted Toronto Police but they told him they couldn't intervene because the dealership willingly gave Regan the vehicle.
"This is just a guy who knew how to work the system," Finlay said.
Finally, Hamilton says, the dealership fooled Regan into returning with the vehicle.
"We tricked him into thinking everything was all approved," Hamilton says. "He'd even contacted the insurance company to set everything up. When he brought it back, we blocked it in."
Other employees confirmed they helped craft a story to convince Regan to bring back the car but were uncertain about how long he'd held on to it.
Regan, however, told CBC News that he was given the car. He says he only had it for about a day.
Before Regan moved into the Lake Shore Boulevard West condo he occupied rent-free for a year, Joshua Lapierre lived there.
Lapierre moved out in October 2014 but says some of his mail was still arriving at the condo.
"I can only assume he was opening my mail," Lapierre said in an interview.
The first sign of trouble was when Lapierre started getting notifications about changes being made to his Rogers cellphone account.
Lapierre says the name of the account holder was changed to Joshua Regan and then changed again to James Regan.
Lapierre says a home phone line and additional services were added to his account by someone else.
Then, another notification came, this one from Lapierre's credit card company, alerting him about a $768.40 charge from a Toronto moving company.
Lapierre says his credit card had expired, and he believes a new one was sent to his old address — where Regan was living — and it was somehow activated.
Lapierre started to worry. "Basically, somebody was impersonating me."
He contacted the moving company and was told the charge was for moving items from Lapierre's old address to the condominium building near Old Mill and Bloor Street, where Regan moved next.
Regan didn't respond to CBC's questions about the allegations.
Both Rogers and the credit card company reimbursed Lapierre.
Lapierre filed a report with police, but there were no charges.
A Toronto Police spokesman says an officer investigated and consulted with the Crown attorney, and it was determined Lapierre's complaint was a civil matter.