October 24th, 2020

Fraud charges net two-year prison sentence


By Shurtz, Delon on February 12, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A man charged more than a year ago for numerous criminal offences relating to stolen mail and personal documents in 2018 had hoped he would be sent to jail for only a year.

However, Judge Kristen Ailsby rejected the defence submission, and Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court she accepted the Crown’s recommendation and sentenced Kyle Anthony Blakely to two years in a federal prison, followed by a year of probation.

Blakely, 29, pleaded guilty last week to 15 charges involving mail theft, unauthorized possession of credit card data, possession of other persons’ identity documents, fraud under $5,000, fraud over $5,000, using forged documents, identity fraud, attempted false pretenses and public mischief. And while Ailsby acknowledged a few mitigating circumstances, such as Blakely’s guilty plea, which saved valuable court time and numerous victims from testifying, she pointed out there were many more aggravating circumstances.

The judge even tried to count the number of people victimized by Blakely’s fraudulent schemes.

“I lost count; over 30,” she said.

According to an agreed statement of facts read in court last week, Blakely had various documents that were stolen from numerous people and which he used to open bank accounts, obtain loans, buy a vehicle, cash cheques, obtain credit and buy musical instruments.

He was finally caught in December 2018, and during a search of a Coaldale hotel room in which Blakely was staying police seized a printer, six cellphones, five iPods, a wallet with various ID cards and documents belonging to other people, a guitar and case, government documents, mail belonging to other people, bank statements in other people’s names, and a spiral notebook with handwritten names, dates of birth, social insurance numbers, health-care card numbers, driver’s licence numbers, phone numbers, addresses, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, email addresses, user names and passwords.

Police also found a 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan that had been fraudulently purchased using stolen documents, and found inside the vehicle a flatscreen TV, more mail and numerous documents, including a City of Lethbridge utility statement, collections letters for unpaid accounts and account statements.

Police seized Blakely’s desktop computer, which he had left at a friend’s house, and found photographs of documents belonging to other people, including an Alberta health card, an operator’s licence from a wallet reported stolen in August 2018, social insurance cards, and a tattered birth certificate belonging to Blakely.

Police also found on the computer a resume, fraudulent bank documents and account statements fraudulent pay stubs and fraudulent operator’s licences, all in Blakely’s name.

Ailsby noted even though Blakely’s offences began as low-level mischief, they escalated in sophistication and intensity and he was able to get loans and buy a vehicle. And when he was charged – he initially faced nearly 100 charges – he was still on probation from previous convictions, for which he was allowed to serve a 90-day sentence on weekends.

Ailsby said Blakely has failed to make any restitution to his victims and the information he stole from them was, in many cases, extremely personal, and included details about prescription and health records.

“It distresses me to think he knew information about his victims’ health before they knew.”

In addition to his prison sentence, for which he was credited nearly a year for time he spent in pre-trial custody, Blakely must submit a sample of his DNA for the national DNA databank. And during his probation after he is released from custody, he must behave himself, live with his mother in Calgary, not communicate with any of his victims and not return to Lethbridge.

A co-accused, Tammy Kotowski, faces more than 50 charges stemming from her alleged involvement with Blakely’s fraud schemes. Her case had been previously adjourned pending Blakely’s sentencing, and she is scheduled to return to court Thursday.

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