Man who faked death faces charges in N.L. and B.C.
Police in British Columbia have added five more charges on top of a public mischief charge laid in Newfoundland and Labrador against a man who faked his own death two years ago.
Bruce Leyte, 57, now faces two counts of fraud, two counts of false pretence and one count of impersonation after the RCMP in Lumby, B.C., heard from an ex-business partner who saw a report about Leyte's Newfoundland arrest on television and recognized him as Fred James Royual.
According to a Lumby RCMP news release, between March and September of 2007 Leyte, who was calling himself Royual, formed a business partnership with Ralph Coombs to do construction work. In September, Royual said he was leaving for a vacation in Alberta and never returned.
Two months later, Coombs told police he had been defrauded.
Coombs told CBC News that although he accuses the man who called himself Jim Royual of stealing thousands of dollars, everybody that knew Royual thought he was a great guy.
"He would do anything to help you … And even after I [saw] him on TV being arrested, I actually felt sorry for him. But then when I found out that he'd faked his own death and did that to his family, you've got to have some kind of cold heart to do something like that," Coombs said.
In June 2006, Leyte was found guilty of tax evasion and ordered to pay a fine of $60,000.
Searchers began looking for Leyte's body on Aug. 18, 2006, in the Humber River near Corner Brook after a suicide note was found in an abandoned truck.
Although Leyte's family believed he was dead, there had been reports of sightings of him in the past two years.
The RCMP detachment in Lumby was tipped off last week by Corner Brook RCMP that Leyte may have been living in their area under an assumed name. But police could find no evidence that Leyte had been in B.C. until Coombs called them.
Lumby RCMP said they will request that Leyte be escorted to B.C. once he has been dealt with in Newfoundland and Labrador.