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More charges for accused for fraudulent canvassing

More charges have been laid against a Red Deer man who is already accused of nearly 240 counts of fraud under $5,000.

Phillip Wiggins, 37, was arrested late in December by Red Deer City RCMP investigating complaints that someone had been canvassing for funds for the Canadian Cancer Society under false pretences.

Wiggins, who has not yet entered a plea on any of the charges, was brought into Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday to address 96 new charges laid earlier in the day.

The new charges came from Lacombe, one of four communities in which the canvass was alleged to have occurred. Police allege that Wiggins also approached donors in Red Deer, Penhold and Blackfalds.

Because of the new charges, Crown prosecutor Tony Bell advised Judge John Holmes that he was not prepared to proceed to guilty pleas and sentencing, which had been anticipated.

Police must still interview hundreds of people to complete their investigation, with potential for even more charges to come, said Bell.

Defence counsel Walter Kubanek argued that his client has already been held in custody for more than a month, that he plans to enter guilty pleas and that he wishes to deal speedily with the charges against him.

Further, Kubanek stated that he had found numerous errors in the information the Crown has provided so far.

Bell said his office has additional information to provide, including a binder containing the new charges.

Kubanek and his client return to court on Tuesday to enter pleas.

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