A man who worked as a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Manitoba has been charged with multiple counts of fraud and forgery following concerns raised about pre-arranged funeral plans which prompted a police investigation.

Sgt. Shaun Veldman with the Winnipeg Police Service’s Financial Crime Unit said investigators have identified nine victims who had purchased pre-arranged funeral plans between January 2000 and August 2015 whose money was not held in trust as required under Manitoba’s Prearranged Funeral Services Act.

Investigators said the amount totals $35,000.

Mike Knysh was arrested April 27 and has been charged with four counts of fraud over $5,000, seven counts of fraud under $5,000 and 13 counts of forgery.

Police also allege Knysh was involved in selling pre-arranged funeral insurance plans through several different insurance company providers. Investigators said between January 2004 and December 2014 13 fraudulent Funeral Director Statements of Death were created for individuals who were not deceased. Investigators said $83,000 was collected through the 13 policies.

Veldman said police started investigating about one year ago after concerns were raised by a member of the funeral service industry.

Police said Knysh was a licensed funeral director and embalmer from October 1995 until December 2015. According to police Knysh owned and operated Knysh Funeral Chapel on Fife Street which was licensed with the Funeral Board of Manitoba from 1998 to 2012 as well as a second in location in Beausejour from 2012 to March 2013 when it was destroyed by fire.

Police said Knysh has been released from custody with conditions.