Man jailed 18 months for identity theft crimes
A Calgary man’s scheme to raid other people’s bank accounts has earned him a few more months in jail.
Clifton Thomas Short, 34, pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday to multiple counts of fraud, forgery and personation after attempting to withdraw $35,000 from a Red Deer man’s bank account.
Reading the facts for Judge Jim Hunter, Crown prosecutor Jillian Brown said bank staff were suspicious of a man who came into the bank shortly before 3 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2012, attempting to make a cash withdrawal. The man who owns the account had already alerted staff that he would be on vacation in Florida.
They checked the signature of the man trying to make the withdrawal and found that it did not match the signature on file.
Short was arrested outside the bank by Red Deer City RCMP. The investigating officer uncovered additional items in his possession, including cheques from the man’s account, a number of additional cards and documents and credit applications filled out in the names of other people.
Released on bail after 10 days in custody, Short returned to court on Sept. 27 to enter a plea of guilty. Sentencing was set over until mid-November and an arrest warrant was issued when Short failed to show up for the hearing.
He was apprehended in December and held in custody pending sentencing on the Red Deer charges along with the outcome of a similar set of charges laid in Calgary.
Defence counsel Michael Scrase attempted to have the Calgary charges waived to Red Deer, but the paperwork was not completed in time for the hearing on Tuesday.
In passing a sentence of 18 months, minus the 115 days served in custody, Hunter noted that Short has a past record of property offences, including break-ins and robberies.
Even though Short was unsuccessful in his attempt to steal money from the Red Deer man’s bank account, that in no way should be seen as a victimless crime, said Hunter.
He characterized identity theft as a crime that affects large numbers of people, including the costs of increased security.
Short must still attend court in Calgary to deal with the charges he faces there.