Andrij Olesiuk was found guilty in January of fraud under $5,000 and possession of stolen property obtained by crime, in a June 24, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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

GoFundMe reimbursed donors to fake account

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.

hockeyHumboldt Broncos

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

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read