Andrij Olesiuk, who was found guilty of charges including fraud under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime enters after he defrauded thousands of dollars from Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe donors, enters Saskatoon Provincial Court for his sentencing hearing in Saskatoon, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

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

Olesiuk received three months for the Humboldt fundraiser and 11 months for the other scheme

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.”

ALSO READ: B.C.’s COVID-19 modelling on track for next phase of reopening

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.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

fraudHumboldt Broncos

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

Just Posted

Mugshots Cafe: renovated and reopened

The Fernie-favourite once again has its doors open to the public

Pick all your apples and save the bears

As summer ends, bears become more active looking for food

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. Premier announces fall election

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka reacts to election announcement

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Totem pole considered cultural appropriation removed from Nelson’s Hume School

The pole had also become rotted and was seen as dangerous to students

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Most Read