A Chilliwack man who went on an identity theft crime spree earlier this year, fraudulently purchasing $10,000 worth of merchandise, is facing 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to a dozen charges.
Gregory James Samuel Cromarty and his partner Virginia Fina Myles defrauded or attempted to defraud 27 different people using stolen identification to apply for credit cards, create fake IDs, and print First Nations status cards.
Cromarty is in custody and appeared in provincial court in Chilliwack Wednesday for sentencing dressed in prison-issue orange sweatshirt and pants. He sat in the prisoner’s box occasionally gesturing to the pregnant Myles, who was in the gallery.
Cromarty, 45, pleaded guilty in the summer to 12 of 32 charges he faced. Myles faced 15 charges and pleaded guilty to eight of them on Oct. 20. She is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 15.
Crown counsel Sandra Di Curzio told Judge Wendy Young Wednesday that her office was looking for a sentence of 18 months jail for the guilty pleas to, among other things, falsely obtaining credit cards; possession of a stolen vehicle; falsely impersonating someone and using a credit card in their name; fraud over $5,000; forging an Indian Status certificate; and possession of methamphetamine.
Cromarty has been at Surrey Pretrial since March 27 amounting to 241 days or 362 days with the standard 1.5-to-one credit. He is asking to be released on time served, and his lawyer Rebecca Gill told the court they were asking for three years probation, the maximum.
Di Curzio read from an admissions of fact statement about the series of crimes from January, February and March of this year. It started with a Crimestoppers tip leading to surveillance, which began on Feb. 20. Cromarty and Myles were frequently seen in a red Honda Civic with stolen plates, and on March 3, Cromarty, Myles along with their young son were seen on video surveillance at the Eagle Landing Walmart.
There the vehicle was transferred from a co-accused to the name of a man Cromarty was posing as. That man, with the initials R.W., had his wallet stolen out of his 2013 Dodge Ram on Jan. 19.
Cromarty would later obtain credit cards in R.W.’s name with which he made thousands of dollars of purchases.
After Cromarty’s arrest in March, local RCMP issued a press release about the case after receiving reports of a local man who was allegedly involved in property crime and credit card fraud.
During the “complex investigation,” RCMP Crime Reduction Unit officers supported by the Priority Offender Suppression Team (POST) covertly gathered evidence to link a suspect, the possession of stolen property, identity theft, and an address to the alleged crimes.
A search warrant was obtained for a house in the 9500-block of Corbould Street where Cromarty and Myles were living with the young boy, and a number of other people. When police searched the home, in the bedroom of Cromarty and Myles they found several printed First nations status cards in the names of various persons with no pictures.
“Some of the cards had been re-laminated with pictures of Mr. Cromarty and Ms. Myles in the names of other persons,” Di Curzio told the court.
There were a large amount of keys, an embossing stamp, a set of licence plates, documents and ID in the names of various persons, an HP printer, and many cellphones.
Cromarty would later tell police that “everything he needed to make the fraudulent identification was sold at London Drugs or Walmart.”
He told police it was easy “and that the police should have ‘somebody like us’ working for the RCMP.”
He also implored police to tell him where his son was, “stating that if his son was not with his parents, he ‘would come back on this detachment…with hell fury man,’” Di Curzio told the court.
Cromarty does not have an extensive record but he is known to Chilliwack RCMP. He was convicted of uttering threats in 2015. He was also charged after an incident in Hope on Oct. 2, 2016: assault and fear of injury by another person. He was convicted of the lesser charge, fined $500 and put on a one year recognizance.
He is also charged with theft over $5,000 in connection with a Dec. 13, 2016 incident in Chilliwack. He pleaded guilty to that charge and is scheduled to be sentenced on both that and the 12 charges related to the identity theft on Nov. 23.