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Charges laid against alleged fraud ring that targeted Cranbrook

Four people in Richmond have had a number of charges laid against them for alleged frauds committed in a number of communities across B.C., including Cranbrook.

“The B.C. Crown Prosecution Service has approved 24 charges, which include fraud, forgery, possession of property obtained by crime, and unauthorized possession of a firearm against one of the accused,” said Cpl. Adriana O’Malley, Richmond RCMP spokesperson.

O’Malley said the investigation, led by Richmond’s economic crime unit, began in Oct. 2020, with several search warrants executed in locations believed to be connected to the fraud ring in Richmond and Vancouver.

According to Richmond RCMP, the four people are believed to have committed fraud in several jurisdictions, including Cranbrook, Richmond, Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Kamloops, Kelowna and Regina.

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“What this investigation shows is that the individuals allegedly involved in these crimes are not just in one community. Crime has a way of going outside of the borders of a single community, and in this case, going as far as Saskatchewan,” said O’Malley.

Police said the four people facing charges are Christopher Birkbeck, Michael Ridley, Richard Yeltatzie and Ayron Borovic.

“The identification and subsequent charges against this group has resulted in a significant disruption of a prolific fraud, identity theft and property crime network operating in B.C. as a whole,” explained O’Malley.

According to RCMP officials, Yeltatzie faces eight other criminal code charges in another file. RCMP said he allegedly sold a home by fraudulent means, unbeknownst to the homeowner.

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