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Scammed family of Olympian offered Whistler accomodation

WHISTLER (NEWS1130) – American bobsledder Steve Mesler’s parents were scammed out of thousands of dollars in a Whistler rental fraud but are now relieved they’ll be able to watch their son go for gold after all.  Ben and Lois Mesler of New York, paid $8,000 to rent a Whistler home in February after placing an ad on a classifieds website, but the man they sent their money to didn’t own the condo he was offering.

Mesler says since the story broke, his parents have received many offers of places to stay.  “There have been no less than 12 or 15 emails and facebook messages from people offering their places.  Whether it’s a room whether it’s a whole house, there has been a bed in a basement suite that’s been offered.”  Mounties say the fraud was pulled off by someone using the name Jason Hartlen.

Mesler adds despite what happened to his parents, this does not put a black mark on their experience. “One rotten apple doesn’t spoil the bunch.  Of course there are people all over the world that do what this Jason Hartlen did, but I don’t know how many more places in the world would have this many people step up.”

Steve Mesler says his family has been touched by the number of complete strangers who’ve offered up their homes since learning of the story.  Martin Moore of Whistler has offered the Mesler’s a place to stay, saying he and his sister had to do something when they heard what the family had gone through.  Mesler adds that in a strange way this experience has shown him how great Canadians can be.

The R-C-M-P have launched a fraud investigation but no arrests have been made.