A suspect accused of targeting young men for fraud through a dating website has been arrested following a tip from the public.
Richardson was arrested on Friday, April 20, by Burnaby RCMP, and taken for a court appearance at the North Vancouver court. He was remanded in custody pending a further court appearance.
West Vancouver Police received separate reports from two men in October of 2017 who stated they had been defrauded by a man they had met through the dating application Grindr.
The victims each individually reported a man, who identified himself as Richard or ‘Quantum’ on the dating application, had befriended them and then offered to help financially assist them.
Victims were allegedly encouraged to set up bank accounts in their name and cash cheques provided to them by the suspect. The suspect then encouraged the victims to share the cash with the suspect or make purchases for the suspect with the cash.
Victims subsequently discovered cheques provided by the suspect were fraudulent. Victims reported losses totaling over $3000.
Detectives with the West Vancouver Police Major Crimes Unit undertook an investigation, identified a suspect and a report was forwarded to Crown Counsel recommending several charges.
Crown Counsel approved a total of 5 charges against 39-year-old Christian Michael Lee RICHARDSON, including two counts of Theft Under $5000 S.334(b) CCC, two counts of Fraud Under $5000 S.380(1) CCC and one count of Uttering a Forged Document S.368(1) CCC.
The investigation remains active. Investigators believe it is possible additional victims have not yet contacted police.
West Vancouver Police urge anyone who believes they have also been victimized to contact Police of jurisdiction where they reside.
Police urge anyone considering financial or personal interactions with individuals only known through internet or otherwise anonymous contacts to use extra caution.