An alleged fraud artist with outstanding warrants in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has yet to be arrested, even though he’s living openly in Montreal and claims he’s met with police in the city.
Shirley Martin of Charlottetown, Kevin Hutcheson’s ex-fiancée and one of his alleged fraud victims, said police need to act to protect others from going through what she experienced.
“I don’t wish any person ill, but Kevin needs to be taken off of the streets,” said Martin.
Hutcheson’s current whereabouts came to Martin’s attention this week when he was interviewed by CBC News for a story about homelessness.
The 53-year-old is living at a homeless shelter and says he has cancer. Reading the CBC story prompted Martin and another woman to contact CBC News about their experiences with Hutcheson and his outstanding arrest warrants.
Hutcheson acknowledges that he’s aware of what he calls “minor charges” against him in P.E.I. and has been in contact with a lawyer.
“I’m not saying I’m a goody-goody, by any means,” he told CBC News.
The wedding that never happened
Martin’s story dates back to the fall of 2015, she said, when she was approached by Hutcheson while having lunch at one of her favourite Charlottetown restaurants.
While Martin, 53 at the time and divorced, wasn’t looking for a relationship, she described Hutcheson as charming, polite and a “breath of fresh air.”
In February 2016, Hutcheson staged an elaborate proposal, complete with candles, Martin’s favourite flowers and a video slide show depicting moments from their relationship.
“It was a fairy tale,” said Martin, adding that she felt like a princess. “It was every girl’s dream.”
The ring, however, was not the one that Hutcheson had described to Martin when he allegedly asked for the money. She said she gave him the benefit of the doubt when he explained he couldn’t afford the ring they’d discussed, and he promised to pay her back what he’d borrowed.
Martin said that was the first of many warning signs which led her to become suspicious of her fiancé’s alleged false promises before Hutcheson disappeared in April 2016.
“I knew I had to speak to somebody, but I did not know where to start,” she said. “I was embarrassed, I was humiliated, I was in love with this man.”
After Hutcheson disappeared, Martin discovered that there were large, unauthorized purchases on her credit card.
She filed a report with Charlottetown police, which led to police issuing an arrest warrant for Hutcheson in P.E.I.
‘He put me through hell and back’
The experience Martin describes sounds eerily like Brenda Knowles’s story of her encounter with Hutcheson two years earlier.
Knowles said she met Hutcheson in Halifax on a dating website shortly before her birthday in October 2013. Knowles said they began seeing each other, and though he rarely paid for lunches or coffee dates when they were together, she didn’t think anything of it.
A few months later, in January 2014, Knowles said that Hutcheson allegedly deposited nearly $43,000 in her bank account. She was surprised, because she never gave him her bank card or details of her account.
Knowles said she let the incident slide, but then discovered her bank accounts and credit cards were all in the red with purchases she never made.
“I screamed so loud, and it knocked him right out of bed,” she said. “He just kept saying, ‘Don’t worry about it, I put the money in your account.’ But there was no money in my account.”
Knowles said she stormed out of the house and alerted her bank. She said she also filed a complaint with police.
She said she ended up feeling “violated and used” and was left alone with thousands of dollars of debt. She had to appeal to her financial institutions, and she said it took her months to recover from the whole experience.
“He put me through hell and back,” Knowles said.
Not going anywhere, Hutcheson says
Hutcheson told CBC News that Montreal police are aware that he is in the city and have been in contact with him, but he said he is not going anywhere.
“I was stopped here twice, and they refused to return [me] on the warrants,” he said, adding that he believes Charlottetown police “won’t pay” to escort him back to P.E.I.
Charlottetown police declined to comment on Hutcheson’s specific case.
However, police Chief Paul Smith acknowledged that unless a Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a crime suspect, police have to examine the gravity of an alleged crime and their available resources before deciding whether to execute a warrant outside the province.
“If this individual was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, they would be held, we would be notified and take the appropriate steps to see what we can do to get the person returned,” he said.
Montreal police also wouldn’t comment on Hutcheson’s case and his claim that police in Montreal have interviewed him and left him alone.
But they did say that if an arrest warrant is issued by another jurisdiction and is limited to that other province, they cannot act on it and make an arrest.
The allegations against Hutcheson have not been proved in court.