October 01, 2013 - 5:05 PM
KAMLOOPS - A 29-year-old identity thief caught with over 1,000 illegal identity cards in the summer was handed three years in prison today in Kamloops Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan said today that Matthew Arthur Stuthard has an 'incredible criminal record' including another conviction for identity theft in 2010 that sent him to prison for more than two years.
Today, he pleaded guilty to six charges including identity theft, possession of stolen property over $5,000 and possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, after he was busted on June 7 of this year. Five charges were stayed by the Crown.
Crown prosecutor Jenny Reid said Stuthard was travelling with his co-accused Mandy Anne Burton— who is also his wife —in a rented Ford Focus on Highway 5 near Barriere when stopped by police for speeding.
Stuthard provided a Saskatchewan identification card, however the officer was skeptical about whether the ID matched the holder after noting the man on the card was roughly 100 pounds heavier than the one in front of him.
The officer probed Stuthard despite additional identification he was able to provide.
"He then admitted that he had provided a false name," Reid said.
A police search of the vehicle revealed over 1,000 illegal identity cards including 10 passports, a credit card encoding machine, blank cards, laptops and cell phones along with 11.5 litres of GHB — the date rape drug — a meth pipe and about 50 grams of methamphetamine.
"This is clearly quite an extensive operation," Reid said.
Defence lawyer Don Campbell said Stuthard was born and raised in Halifax, but suffered from an unstable upbringing, dropping out of school in Grade 6 and suffering from multiple addictions including meth, GHB and marijuana. He has since married his co-accused, earned his high school diploma, and completed graphic arts training in Vancouver and working at an online clothing company. Court records reveal police also know of six aliases used by Stuthard including: Fredrick Graham Decker, Brennan Cardinal, Matthew Douglas, Desalgn Tefasi Tekeste, Ritchie Tziganey and Madd Matt.
Donegan said Stuthard could have faced a much heavier jail sentence had he not pleaded guilty.
"Mr. Stuthard's crimes in possessing all of these stolen items affected a great number of people," she said, adding the date rape drug also has significant negative impacts on the community.
Stuthard said he gets caught in a 'downward spiral' when it comes to drugs and crime, but has been working to get clean since taken into custody.
"I didn't get arrested, I got rescued," he told the court today.
Ultimately, Donegan agreed to the joint submission.
"It reflects the seriousness of the offences but does give you credit for your guilty plea," she said.
Burton is expected to appear in court on Thursday in Kamloops.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013