Thursday April 24, 2014

Man brought to justice for historic fraud

A former Kamloops cabbie was brought back from Alberta, escorted by sheriffs, to face a conviction from 15 years ago - a $500 fraud.

David Cronie, 55, was convicted of a single count of fraud against the provincial welfare system by then-provincial court judge Terry Shupe in September 1999, but was absent at that time for the hearing.

Crown lawyer Will Burrows said RCMP in Edmonton arrested Cronie on a judicial warrant issued in 1999. He spent eight days at KRCC before getting into court.

"They tracked him last week in Alberta and brought him here," said Burrows.

Cronie was found guilty of fraud after authorities determined he cashed two $500 welfare cheques in July 1998.

Burrows said Cronie went to the then-Ministry of Human Resources office on Tranquille Road, reporting that his welfare cheque was lost in the mail.

"He was advised if the cheque did turn up, he was to return it."

But officials determined he cashed both the replacement cheque and the original cheque he reported lost.

Cronie has had no dealings with the criminal justice system since.

Defence lawyer Murray Armstrong said the former cabbie hit hard times before cashing both cheques, losing his job and apartment.

"He took the wrong step. He admits it."

Cronie eventually went to Edmonton, where he was homeless for a decade. He now has subsidized housing.

Judge Roy Dickey sentenced him to time served in jail, releasing Cronie on Christmas Eve.

"At 55, I've learned a lot too late," Cronie told Dickey. "I'm not that person anymore."

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