Housing market drawing shady operators 

Jesse Nelson was stoked at the prospect of having a place to live in Whistler for the Olympics.

But that was before he found out the place he wanted was just a front for a Nigerian fraudster already implicated in a puppy-fraud scheme.

Nelson, a self-titled “Office Ninja” with Whistler’s Camp of Champions, first came to the community in October to do a work term while studying ski resort operations and management at Selkirk College in Nelson, B.C.

“It’s the place to be for the industry,” he said of Whistler. “I just had to come out and find out for myself and I fell in love with this place.”

Before starting a work term as a snowmaker for Whistler-Blackcomb, Nelson and a lifelong friend didn’t want to live in staff housing. They spent two months looking for accommodation prior to moving to Whistler and soon discovered the perils of finding a place to live in the community.

“We were looking for big or small places, shared or single rooms,” he said. “When it came down to it, it was just too close to moving day and I had to go into staff housing.”

Nelson lived there until January, later moving into a shared room with a friend in the Whistler Cay neighbourhood. He’s now hoping to find something new before Sept. 1.

His search took him to the classified pages of Pique and the Whistler Question , but neither yielded the results he was looking for. It wasn’t until he went to the Craigslist website that he started making progress in his search for a new home.

“I was checking the daily classifieds on the Pique website every day, several times a day, same as Craigslist,” Nelson said. “I was checking it out probably every half hour that day.”

Eventually he landed upon a Craigslist posting for a three-bedroom suite, with bathrooms and utilities included, at Whistler Creek Lodge for $2,200 a month.

Thinking he had hit the jackpot, Nelson contacted the landlords right away. He soon got in touch with a man named Kim Craig, a self-described “Christian” who would be away in Nigeria for two years to complete some missionary work.

After exchanging a few e-mails, the owner directed all contact to his wife, Lane Cheryl Craig, a woman who lived in Miami. The owners were willing to lease the home for two years, an agreement that would give Nelson a home through the Olympics.

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