Prolific Kelowna identity thief slapped with eight more months in prison | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Prolific Kelowna identity thief slapped with eight more months in prison

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February 05, 2019 - 1:44 PM

KELOWNA - A Kelowna man's long history of impersonation and driving without a license caught up with him today, as he was sentenced to eight additional months in prison.

Chet Severn, 45, appeared in a Kelowna courtroom via video to hear his sentence for a myriad of identity theft, driving while prohibited and breach of recognizance charges. Severn pled guilty to these charges, which stretch back nearly three years, last July.

Crown lawyer Dan Blumenkrans laid out the agreed-upon facts of the case. He stated that on June 16, 2016, Severn, using another man's driver's license, asked for duplicate licenses and service cards at the Kelowna driver's office on Springfield Road. He managed to get the cards with his photo and the man's name. The file was flagged the next day and police were alerted. An investigation revealed Severn owed ICBC $90,000 and he used the other man's license in order to drive.

Blumenkrans said this identity theft posed a public safety risk as it undermined the integrity of ICBC.

Blumenkrans said on Oct. 13, 2017, police observed an erratic smart car driving in West Kelowna. The officer pulled the vehicle over and the driver, Severn, produced two pieces of ID, both belonging to the man he impersonated the year earlier. The officer suspected identity theft and searched Severn, discovering several pieces of ID that did not belong to Severn. The officer took Severn into custody, where he revealed is real identity. He was released on bail.

On Nov. 7, 2017, Severn was arrested for driving near Highway 97 and Highway 33, which was a violation of his bail. He broke his bail conditions again on Feb. 16, 2018, when police caught him driving on Highway 97. He claimed he was trying to get to work and he didn't have a ride that day. Severn also failed to report to his probation officer on Apr. 19, 2018.

Blumenkrans said Severn had a significant criminal record with numerous driving while prohibited violations. He asked for a federal sentence of 28 months, equaling 13 months after time served.

Severn's defence lawyer Michael Stephenson said his client was diagnosed with bipolar two disorder in 2014, which he claimed influenced Severn's poor decision-making during the incidents. He said Severn has received medication and assistance for his mental health while in custody for the last nine months.

"He's been speaking with doctors to get his behaviour under control," Stephenson said. "He's taken responsibility."

Stephenson asked for a sentence of time served plus two days.

Judge Lisa Wyatt deliberated for close to an hour before passing a sentence of 22 months, which minus time served equals 250 days, or just over 8 months. In total he will have spent 17 months in prison by the time he's released.

Judge Wyatt also sentenced Severn to 18 months probation and a 15-year driving prohibition.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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