By Tim Petruk
Kamloops This Week
The man sitting at the head of the table inside the almost-empty showroom at what used to be the Strauss building on Fortune Drive introduced himself as Ray.
“Ray Wilson,” he said. “General manager.”
He was not Ray Wilson. Ray Wilson does not exist.
He was Paul Pearson, a notorious convicted fraudster.
After explaining how Kamloops Auto Auctions would work and what it would offer to local car buyers, Pearson, as Wilson, gave KTW his cellphone number — the same number posted online and in flyers as the contact for the business.
“And it’s Ray,” he reiterated.
Moments later, a truck pulled into the Kamloops Auto Auctions lot and the driver rolled down his window.
“How’s it going, Paul?” the driver yelled out.
“Pretty good,” Pearson, as Wilson, shouted back.
As Wilson, Pearson explained to KTW that the new business he was involved with would fill a void in the local vehicle-sales market.
Kamloops Auto Auctions is owned by two women — Kelly Selman and Amy Luccianio — who Pearson, as Wilson, described as long-time family friends.
They are, in fact, Pearson’s daughters.
In a phone interview later, Pearson, as himself, said he was the vice-president of marketing of Kamloops Auto Auctions.
When asked if he thought his involvement, given his criminal past, could hinder the business, he minimized it, at one point saying he was not involved in any way.
“There’s no concern at all,” he said.
“The company is registered to Kelly Selman and Amy Luccianio.
“I just put a little help in with my expertise. I’m just down assisting them, helping them out to get set up.”
Pearson then handed the phone to Luccianio.
“I just want to make sure there’s no affiliation with who you were talking to,” she said.
Luciannio was then asked why her father had, moments earlier, described himself as the vice-president.
“He is the marketing manager, who works with Ray,” she replied, apparently referencing alter-ego Ray Wilson.
Again, Ray Wilson does not exist.
When KTW confronted Pearson about his use of the name Ray Wilson, things got even more confusing.
“Ray is my cousin,” he said initially.
“He works here. We get mixed up a lot. Both heavy-set, both have goatees.”
On Tuesday afternoon, KTW conducted the Ray Wilson interview with Pearson at Kamloops Auto Auctions. Less than an hour later, a KTW photographer showed up to take pictures.
Pearson claimed that in the 45 minutes between the interview and the photos, Wilson had left the office and he had arrived, sitting in the same chair with the same paperwork wearing the same clothes as his cousin.
It was Pearson who was photographed, he said, but Wilson who was interviewed.
In fact, they were the same person.
Pearson then became confused in his story, at various times stating the photographer had taken his picture or taken that of Wilson.
Pearson got into his vehicle and left Kamloops Auto Auctions when the KTW photographer began taking pictures.
Kamloops Auto Auctions was slated to hold its first sales event on Saturday, Aug. 29.
The company also uses the name Interior Auto Auctions on its website, canadianroadshows.wix.com/car-cash, a site created through the free webpage service wix.com.
It claims to be a “No Hastle [sic] Sell your car in 5 minutes or Less” service.
Soliciting vehicles from personal owners of vehicles on its website and in flyers is what has caught the eye of the Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSABC).
Hung Wong, manager of licensing with the VSABC, told KTW the authority is looking into Kamloops Auto Auctions’ status.
“Based on the ads [flyers] we see, they are not compliant,” Wong said.
“We have concerns.
“We are continuing with our investigation.”
Wong said material promoting Kamloops Auto Auctions is asking for consumers to consign their vehicles for auction and states government surplus vehicles will also be available — neither of which can be done unless the business has a motor-dealer licence.
Wong said Kamloops Auto Auctions does not have such a licence.
He said the Vehicle Sales Authority had spoken to Kamloops Auto Auctions representatives within the last week, noting the company was told it can take from six to eight weeks to process a licence.
While a motor-dealer licence is not required for the resale of vehicles from registered dealers, Wong said dealers using an auction house to sell their vehicles must apply for off-site licences.
“We have been trying to get a list of dealers who will be at the [Saturday, Aug. 29] auction,” Wong said. “We haven’t been able to get any yet.”
VSABC said it is in the process of taking out ads in newspapers to warn readers about Kamloops Auto Auctions.
Kamloops Auto Auctions and its Saturday vehicle sales at 755 Fortune Dr. in North Kamloops are also promoted on a Facebook page belonging to a man named Ray Pearson from Kamloops.
The page includes a photo of Paul Pearson.
There is also a Facebook site belonging to a Paul Pearson of Kamloops, which is linked to a Facebook page he created called Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War, an auction page featuring coins and ivory items.
Its last activity was on May 29, with a discussion among members about being blocked from the site and one member posting, “I guess I’m not getting my coins.”
After he created the Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War page on Facebook, Pearson posted the following: “Due to the dictatorship and constant interference by administrators of a similar site in Logan Lake we have created our own bidding site where you the members set the rules. We are sick to death of a busy body admin telling us how , when and where we the buyers and sellers can complete our transactions. Here you can make any dam decision you want on completing the sale, if you wish to mail your items or use UPS its your right to do as you and the one you are dealing with decide. This is not Nazi Germany but rather Canada and we have the freedom to do as we wish. Please spread the word, Thanx!!!”
The other site Pearson referred to is a legitimate auction page on Facebook called Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars, from which Pearson’s membership was revoked and from which he was banned from posting due to his questionable conduct on the online auction site.
In 2002, Pearson was convicted and fined under the Trade Practices Act for deceiving customers of his log-home company.
In 2005, Pearson declared bankruptcy.
In September 2010, Pearson was sentenced to 20 months of house arrest and ordered to pay $158,000 in restitution after scamming booth exhibitors out of thousands of dollars from phoney trade shows he set up in Red Deer and Calgary.
Another 67 fraud-related charges were withdrawn, as were fraud-related charges laid against Pearson’s wife, Gloria.
The offences occurred between 2007 and 2009, when Pearson began advertising trade shows through the Internet.
He would then contact businesses by email about their potential interest. Pearson collected money from 18 victims who gave money toward booth space at one of the fake trade shows he had organized.
In 2013, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned members to stay away from a talent contest promoted by Pearson, according to a CBC report.
Last year, Pearson and wife Gloria were in court to answer to accusations they were running sewage from their Vinsulla home into a pit in their yard.
In its short life, Kamloops Auto Auctions has also been in trouble with the City of Kamloops. Approval of its business licence was delayed this week because of illegal signage, KTW has learned.
The licence was granted late in the day Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Pearson eventually came clean, admitting to KTW that he had been untruthful about his name.
He said something “smelled funny” and he decided to lie.
“When you came in and you looked around a little, there was something that went on there,” he said.
“I just didn’t feel comfortable. It was a gut feeling.
“I get a gut feeling sometimes.”
Pearson said Wilson is not a real person.
“Well, my middle name is Ray,” he said.
“And, I just said Wilson.”
Pearson said he didn’t want his tarnished reputation to impact his daughters’ business.
Rather, he wanted to put his daughters in touch with members of the Kamloops vehicle-sales community.
“I’m involved to the point of helping my daughters,” he said.
“I’m assisting them and introducing them to these guys.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War site to which Pearson was using is not connected to a Facebook auction page called Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars.
In fact, according to the site administrators of Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars, Pearson was a member whose membership was revoked and whose access was blocked, after which he created the similar-sounding site.
Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars continues to operate and has no connection to Pearson.