Telus claims impostors defrauded telecom out of $704,000 worth of iPhones

BIV's lawsuit of the week

Telus Communications Inc. is suing Surrey residents Barinder Singh Sidhu and Karan Singh Multani after the pair allegedly impersonated representatives of a long-standing client to defraud the company out of $704,000 worth of iPhones.

Telus filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on November 28 claiming Sidhu and his associate Multani conspired to obtain the iPhones and sell them online on Facebook Marketplace and elsewhere.

According to the claim, Sidhu is a former employee of non-party Olympia Transportation Ltd., a current and past client of Telus. On January 16, 2018, company representatives met with Sidhu and Multani at a Surrey warehouse on 128 Street and were under the impression that the warehouse was part of Olympia’s operations. Sidhu and Multani, however, allegedly impersonated an Olympia director and the company’s operations manager and told Telus representatives they “were seeking to place a large order for smartphones for use in Olympia’s business.”

“Olympia was a long-standing and well-established client of Telus,” the claim states. “As a result of the existing relationship between Telus and Olympia, Telus did not require a down payment or other security for the purchase price of the initial order from Olympia.”

Telus claims Sidhu and Multani initially ordered 450 iPhone 8 models and SIM cards, which was later changed to 450 iPhone 10 models. In May 2018, Telus delivered and invoiced the defendants for the phones, which were discounted on three-year term plans. Without discounts, the phones are worth $704,250, according to the lawsuit.

“In the weeks that followed delivery, Sidhu and Multani repeatedly contacted the Telus representatives in an effort to obtain further discounts on the wrongfully obtained devices, which delayed attempts at collection on the invoice and discovery of the fraud,” the claim states.

Telus sent an email to Olympia on July 5 to collect on the invoice, the claim says, but Olympia denied having placed the order. On August 15, Telus representatives went to Olympia’s Burnaby facility and met with actual Olympia staff, whom Multani and Sidhu allegedly impersonated. With the help of Olympia staff, Telus claims it was able to identify the defendants as the impersonators and took steps to track down the devices, which ended up being sold online, including to a Telus employee.

“Some of the wrongfully obtained devices have been activated on the Telus Network,” the claim states. “One wrongfully obtained device was activated by a Telus employee who purchased the device through Facebook Marketplace on or about June 17, 2018. The Telus employee sought a refund from the Facebook Marketplace seller, when the device was blacklisted and ceased to function. At that time, the seller advised the Telus employee that the blacklisted devices would be sold in India.”

Telus seeks damages for conspiracy, fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, misrepresentation, deceit, conversion and breach of contract. Neither of the defendants had filed a response to the lawsuit by press time, and none of the allegations have been tested or proven in court.