A city businessman who juggled multiple identities to rip off two Kamloops banks and tried to defraud the Canada Revenue Agency was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.
Gary Mechar pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of falsely attempting to claim a refund.
"The best thing to be said of Mr. Mechar is he's a skilled fraud artist," said B.C. Supreme Court justice Dev Dley.
Mechar, 48, will also be saddled with a restitution order requiring he pay back the $170,000 he defrauded TD Canada Trust and RBC.
Dley said jail time is warranted to deter others as well as show society's displeasure at ripoffs based on abuse of institutions that operate in part on trust.
Prosecutor Anthony Varesi detailed the crimes that relied on Mechar's ability to operate under three names in addition to his own.
He obtained birth records from three children who died, gradually building credit and other information on them. He was able to obtain a notary designation from the state of Wisconsin for David Dunn.
In one instance, notary Dunn took a statement from company owner Robert McDonald as to financial dealings with Mechar.
In fact, all were the same man, Gary Mechar, operating under different guises.
Mechar purchased rural property in the North Thompson under McDonald's name and made him the principal of a computer consulting firm that he operated.
In another instance, to cover his tracks as TD Bank tried to get back $74,000 from MacDonald, Mechar sued his alter ego so his claim would get in ahead of the bank's claim.
RBC was next in line for fraud. It lost about $194,000 in a multiple-identity fraud involving bad cheques.
The bank frauds happened in 2005. A year later, Mechar attempted to get back $1 million in source deductions supposedly taken from him and a fellow employee, John Lovric, but never remitted to Revenue Canada.
In fact, Mechar falsified company records, including his salary and tax information.
Lovric pleaded guilty and was given an 18-month conditional sentence for his much smaller part in the attempt to rip off the taxman.
Defence lawyer Don Campbell said Mechar was a skilled technology worker but a poor businessman who resorted to fraud in an attempt to keep his companies afloat.
One of them was Flight Discovery, a flying school at Kamloops Airport. He was also part owner of Blue Max nightclub here in 1998.
"One can't help but be struck by the cunning, guile and (lack of conscience) of Mr. Mechar's actions," Dley said.
"He's expressed no remorse, no indication he truly understands the nature, extent and consequences of his actions."
© Kamloops Daily News