WEST Vancouver Police are seeking public assistance to find a suspect accused of targeting young men for fraud through a dating website.
Police received separate reports from two men in October 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 assist them financially.
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 $3,000.
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 has now approved a total of five charges against 39-year-old Christian Michael Lee Richardson, including two counts of theft under $5,000, two counts of fraud under $5,000, and one count of uttering a forged document.
Richardson is currently believed to be of no fixed address. An arrest warrant has been issued. Anyone with information that could assist police in finding him is asked to contact Det. Constable Sandra Rijken of the West Vancouver Police Major Crimes Unit at 604-925-7300.
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 the police of the 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.