West Vancouver police are searching for a suspect they say has been defrauding local men he targeted through a dating app.
Police received two reports since October last year from men in their 20s who say they were duped into cashing bogus cheques by a man who then made off with the money.
The man identified himself to his victims on gay dating app Grindr as Richard or Quantum, according to police, before befriending them and eventually offering them a “sugar daddy” relationship.
“They were looking at the possibility that they met someone they can date and also somebody who can financially support them,” said Const. Jeff Palmer, West Vancouver police spokesman. “There are elements of preying on both emotional and financial vulnerability in this.”
Police say the fraudster wrote cheques to his victims and then encouraged them to cash them and share the spoils with him.
Total losses for the victims are more than $3,000, according to police.
The Crown has now sworn five charges against 39-year-old Christian Michael Lee Richardson, including two counts of theft, two counts of fraud and one count of using a forged document.
However, police don’t know where he is now as he has no fixed address.
“It’s certainly possible he’s still in the Lower Mainland. It’s also certainly possible there may be other people who have been similarly victimized and haven’t yet come forward to police and we’d certainly encourage that,” Palmer said. “At this point we have sworn charges and an outstanding arrest warrant so we’re looking to get any assistance and bring him before the courts.”
Anyone with information about Richardson’s whereabouts is asked to contact the West Vancouver Police Major Crimes Unit at 604-925-7300.