October 28th, 2020

Charges dropped against fraud suspect


By Shurtz, Delon on February 22, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A woman charged more than a year ago with numerous criminal offences relating to stolen mail and personal documents in 2018 is no longer facing charges.

Tammy Judy Kotowski was charged in January 2018 with 52 offences, including possession of stolen mail, possession of credit cards and identity cards, fraud under $5,000 and possession of stolen property. And although she pleaded not guilty to the charges last May and it appeared she was headed for trial, the charges were withdrawn Friday in Lethbridge provincial court.

Crown prosecutor Lisa Weich withdrew the charges, but recommended property seized by police during their investigation – excluding a cellphone, a vehicle and her own documents – be forfeited to the Crown.

Weich also pointed out that Kyle Anthony Blakely, who was also charged in relation to the same offences, was sentenced earlier this month. He faced nearly 100 charges but pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to 15 charges and received a two-year prison sentence. He was, however, credited for nearly a year spent in pre-trial custody, and will spend the remainder of his sentence in provincial jail.

The charges stem from incidents in which various documents were stolen from numerous people and used to open bank accounts, obtain loans, buy a vehicle, cash cheques, obtain credit and buy musical instruments.

Police caught up to the two suspects in December 2018, and police seized a printer, cellphones, 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.

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