October 10, 2014 - 11:20 AM
VERNON - A Vernon man who racked up thousands of dollars of debt on his mother’s credit cards to feed an addiction was handed a nearly five-year jail sentence this week on extortion and fraud charges.
Jeffrey Arishenkoff, born in 1980, must also pay $101,595 in restitution for the offenses, provincial court judge Lisa Wyatt ruled Monday.
In sentencing submissions, Crown counsel Cristina Cabulea said Arishenkoff obtained the money through cash advances on his mother’s credit cards. Cabulea described the woman as a vulnerable victim who is physically disabled and has significant health issues.
Arishenkoff was recently out of jail and living with his mother and step-father at the time. His mother soon caught on to the missing credit cards and unfamiliar cash advances on her bank statements. When confronted, she said Arishenkoff admitted to the wrongdoings and together they attended the Vernon RCMP detachment in June 2013 where he was arrested and issued a no contact order with his mother.
Later the same year, Arishenkoff went to his mother’s house—breaking the no contact order—and demanded she sign up for another credit card, or else he would harm her, her husband and poison her dogs. She said her son appeared to be on drugs at the time.
“She believed him because obviously she is physically disabled and can’t defend herself and because she said he was violent with her in the past,” Cabulea said.
Arishenkoff broke the no contact order again in December 2013 by visiting his mother at a recovery facility, and in May 2014 at her home, Cabulea said. He has been in custody since May 23, 2014.
During that time, Arishenkoff was also caught stealing from Walmart and the Real Canadian Superstore. When stopped by police, he initially refused to give his real name, offering his brother’s instead. Cabulea asked the judge to consider a five-year jail sentence.
“This is a situation of trust, it’s about the accused’s mother, she is a vulnerable victim.... The impact on (her) is huge and it’s devastating to see all her life savings gone,” Cabulea said.
Arishenkoff’s lawyer Claire Abbott said her client is remorseful for his actions, and is saddened by the hardship he caused his mother. She said his actions were motivated by a drug addiction he has repeatedly tried to beat.
“We all know... the people an addict hurts most are the people closest to them,” Abbott said.
She said the fact Arishenkoff used his own mother was actually a mitigating factor, less egregious than targeting a stranger. She said the same was true of his motivation for the crimes; that a drug addiction was a less contemptible motivation than financial greed.
“(He) knows if he can get off those drugs he can start getting back on track,” Abbott said, noting he hopes to access treatment and other programs while incarcerated.
Abbott noted it was difficult finding case law to compare the file to, likely because most fraud cases involving family members don’t make it to judgement.
Arishenkoff was handed 1058 days of new time in jail for the fraud charges, lowered by a 219 day credit for time served. He earned another year on the extortion charge.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014