Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Canadian judge rejects deportation order for illegal immigrant from Africa and instead jails him for fraud

Tera Camus:

A provincial court judge rejected a federal deportation order and sent an illegal immigrant from Senegal to jail for four months after he pleaded guilty Friday to defrauding the Canada Trust TD Bank of almost $10,000 last month.

Judge David Ryan told Mohamadou Doiuf, 22, of Dakar, Senegal, that the recommended plea bargain presented by Crown and defence counsels Friday was not strong enough to stop others from doing a similar "professional fraud."

They had recommended a sentence involving one day in jail, served by his presence in court, along with a "free ride" back to Africa.

"I’m not chastising either council for being soft," Judge Ryan said. "I see their logic, but I just don’t agree."

Mr. Doiuf was arrested Monday by Cape Breton Regional Police and charged with two counts of fraud for using a fake Alberta driver’s licence to open an account at the Canada Trust TD Bank on Charlotte Street, April 16, to deposit a cheque from an insurance company worth $9,960.50. On Friday, one count was dropped for his guilty plea.

The court was told security cameras caught Mr. Doiuf making three withdrawals that same day, totalling $1,200, from the bank’s ATM. Other surveillance cameras inside a local grocery store that week caught him using his bank card to buy two U.S. money orders worth nearly $5,000.

All the withdrawals were flagged by the bank for "suspicious activities" as managers scrambled to contact the insurance firm to determine if the cheque he deposited was legitimate. Police were contacted soon after when officials determined it was fake.

When police investigated further, they noticed an outstanding Canada-wide warrant issued by the federal Immigration Department in 2006 for his immediate deportation.

The warrant had been issued after Mr. Doiuf was convicted in Montreal of assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm.

He originally landed in Canada from Africa in 2003 on a student visa that also expired in 2006.

Armed with a warrant on April 30, Sydney police found a bag containing more than $10,000 in his apartment, along with numerous fake identification cards, including many professionally-made Alberta driver’s licences containing his picture under various names.

There were also multiple banking cards with different names.

Defence counsel Mike Kuna said sending his client to jail in Nova Scotia will "almost victimize taxpayers" now, especially when "federal authorities are ready to act on the deportation order."

Mr. Kuna said immigration officers were en route to the courthouse Friday to pick him up.

Mr. Doiuf also pleaded with the judge to let him leave Canada. "I just want to say I’m sorry about what happened. . . . I just want to go back home," Mr. Doiuf said, noting he missed his mother and had a very sick grandmother.

Judge Ryan told Mr. Doiuf that he was supposed to fly home last year but didn’t, so he didn’t buy his desire to be with family.

Local police continue to investigate other possible victims in the Sydney area given the stash of cash found exceeded that defrauded from the bank.

Immigration officials plan to execute the deportation order after he serves his jail time.

The airplane ride back to Africa will be covered by taxpayers.

West African man who eluded deportation arrested in Cape Breton

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