Man who set up fake Humboldt Broncos fundraiser gets 14-month jail sentence

Man who set up fake Humboldt Broncos fundraiser gets 14-month jail sentence

SASKATOON — A man who set up a fake online fundraiser for the Humboldt Broncos following the Saskatchewan hockey team’s deadly bus crash has been sentenced to 14 months in jail.

Andrij Olesiuk was found guilty in January by a provincial court judge in Saskatoon of fraud under $5,000 and possession of stolen property obtained by crime.

During Tuesday’s sentencing, he also pleaded guilty to an investment fraud worth $65,000 that took place before the Broncos fundraiser.

Olesiuk, 33, offered remorse for his crimes through his lawyer.

“He is the author of his own misfortune,” said defence counsel John Rozdilsky.

Court heard Olesiuk raised about $3,900 through a GoFundMe account after the crash, but instead of the money going to the team, it was deposited into his personal account and spent.

During his trial, Olesiuk testified he closed down his account and gave $4,100 in cash to a woman who had come to his door collecting donations for the Broncos.

Court heard he lost the donation receipt in a house fire and couldn’t remember which organization the woman collecting donations was affiliated with.

Sixteen people were killed and thirteen others were injured when a bus carrying members of the Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi-truck at a rural intersection in April 2018.

Crown prosecutor Darren Howarth called Olesiuk’s testimony “deceptive.”

“Taking advantage of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash is, to put it delicately, clearly reprehensible,” Howarth said outside court.

“If you’re going to take advantage of people in that way, find easy ways to take advantage of people, if you get caught, you’ll be prosecuted and you’ll go to jail.”

Court heard GoFundMe reimbursed the donors to the fake account. It also heard that the crime was likely only discovered because of a police investigation into the larger fraud.

In that scheme, Olesiuk posed as a financial trader in cannabis stocks for a fake company that he pitched to a couple from British Columbia, including with a bogus business card and documents that appeared real, said Howarth.

That couple then invited another family member to make investments. A total of $65,000 was stolen from the trio from March 2017 to February 2018, which resulted in strained family relationships, court heard.

The only time Olesiuk spoke in court was to ask about his ability to continue with bottle drives when one of the conditions of his sentence is not to raise money online for charitable reasons.

Olesiuk received three months for the Humboldt fundraiser and 11 months for the other scheme, which must be served consecutively. He’s also been ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Humboldt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

PHOTOS: Eckville graduates receive their diplomas, finally

Eckville Jr./Sr. High School held a socially distanced grad over the weekend

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Gord Bamford serenades Sylvan Lake at sold out concert

Gord Bamford played for a sold out crowd at a drive-in concert Sept. 19 in Sylvan Lake

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read