The last line says it all

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One of the biggest national security investigations in Canadian history began with a leak.

But Marc Duke was no mole giving away inside information. He was the janitor at a dowdy high-rise apartment building in downtown Montreal, and his emergency mission one December day in 2006 was to find the valve in apartment 707 that would stop the flow from a broken pipe. What he found were thousands of phony credit cards, along with fake passports, firearms acquisition certificates, and assorted other forms of identification.

“I said to myself, ‘What the hell is this?' ” Mr. Duke, a former cop, recalled between puffs of a cigarette in his dingy basement office.

It turned out to be more significant than he could have imagined. Mr. Duke's accidental discovery helped police crack one of the biggest counterfeiting rings they had ever encountered.

His tip also prompted the RCMP's national security squad to mount a three-year investigation into the trafficking of Canadian passports. That effort culminated last month with an even bigger bust: the arrest of 32 people alleged to be running an international counterfeiting ring out of a Toronto tailor's shop and three Montreal daycares.This latest bust has raised fears among police that terrorist groups, including the Tamil Tigers, might be among the clients for these fake documents. It has also raised concerns about the justice system's ability to cope with these counterfeiters. At least a half-dozen of those arrested had criminal records for similar forgeries, according to court documents.

None of this might have come to light were it not for a persistent dribble of water in Khaled Bentoutaou's studio apartment. Mr. Bentoutaou, a 34-year old Algerian, lived on the seventh floor of the drab, 11-storey building near McGill University.

But his one-room apartment was more like a factory, pumping out false ID along with fake credit cards that generated an estimated $1.6-million in fraudulent transactions, court documents say.

When Mr. Duke opened the door that December day using a master key, he was astounded. The walls were lined with tables, computers and printing and embossing equipment that could stick on the holographic images that were supposed to guarantee document security. Thousands of cards were lined up in long, narrow boxes.

A can of coffee in the fridge and an inflatable mattress on the floor were the only signs anyone lived there.

“I knew he was up to something,” said Mr. Duke, who immediately alerted police.

The police found material to produce fake ID for a number of countries and provinces, including Quebec and Ontario.

There were dies for printing the official documents of Dubai, Jordan, Sierra Leone, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Peru, Massachusetts and the Spanish Transport Ministry.

Judge James Brunton put the cache in context when he refused Mr. Bentoutaou bail in 2007.

“The gravity of the infraction of being able to produce pieces of identity, including passports and Canadian citizenship cards, is very high in this era where the security of every Canadian is on the minds of everyone,” said the judge.

Mr. Bentoutaou later changed his plea to guilty and another judge sentenced him to eight months in jail.

Now, however, things have come full circle.

Mr. Bentoutaou was one of the 32 people arrested in the major bust last month, when the police raided Montreal daycares. The Mounties had intercepted thousands of conversations – in a multitude of languages – between alleged forgers and clients, suggesting the international scope of the operation.

Court documents suggest Mr. Bentoutaou is not alone in the revolving door of justice, even at a time when governments are spending large sums to tighten the security of identification.

The most striking example is another Algerian, Mohamed Cheriti, a 45-year-old landed immigrant who has been arrested repeatedly in the past 10 years for possessing or producing false documents linked to several countries.

He first popped onto law enforcement radar in June, 1999. Police in Thailand arrested Mr. Cheriti on allegations he defrauded two jewellery stores with bogus credit cards.

Mr. Cheriti told authorities he received the cards from Algerians living in Thailand. Mr. Cheriti skipped on his bail and returned to Canada, according to a recent Canadian immigration judgment.

In March, 2002, the RCMP arrested him for smuggling Algerian student ID cards and diplomas into Canada. Mr. Cheriti said it was an accident. His wife had slipped the documents for safekeeping into some books. He paid a $200 fine.

Two months later, he was arrested for trying to fly to France on a false passport. Court documents show that he explained that getting a French visa through the normal application process was too complicated.

Mr. Cheriti was arrested again in 2004 and 2007 for using false credit cards.

While he never served more than a year in prison, in October an immigration tribunal ordered Mr. Cheriti's deportation for his litany of crimes.

A month later, he was arrested yet again in the big Montreal sweep.

Mr. Duke, who became a maintenance man 15 years ago after he left the police force, is less than impressed.

“It's a piece of cake, the jail these guys serve,” he said. “It's a joke, our system.”

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If you believe the extreme right wing out there, the reason this is allowed to happen is because one day in the near future we will all be forced to accept a chip implanted on our bodies, in order to SAVE us from identity theft.

When I see such rediculous sentences for such crimes, who's playing who's game?

Thanks woxof, you have opened a few eyes.

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If you are from southern Ontario you will remember the death of 15 year old Jane Creba. She was shot on Boxing Day about 4 years ago.

Toronto Star Article......

A man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday for his role in a gunfight that killed 15-year-old Jane Creba obviously made some "terrible decisions" four years ago, his lawyer says.

But by entering a plea a month before jury selection was to begin, Jeremiah Valentine, 27, has "stepped up to the plate," Edward Sapiano told Ontario Superior Court.

"He has expressed to me that he wishes he could turn back the hands of time," Sapiano told Justice John McMahon. The plea "speaks volumes about his remorse and while had can never make amends, he's given all he has left — a guilty plea." bovine excretement... remorse 4 years later ?

A second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence.

In light of his plea, which has "given the people of Toronto certainty," Sapiano requested Valentine become eligible for parole after 12 years — emphasizing that is simply the eligibility date "and does not mean he will be released."

Had he gone to trial and been found guilty he would have received a 20 year sentence with no parole for 20 years....hence his "remorse" for a lesser sentence

Crown attorney Maurice Gillezeau agreed 12 years is appropriate given his admission of guilt.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Valentine, wearing a yellow striped button-down shirt and baggy jeans, replied "No, your Honour."

McMahon agreed with the joint submission and sentenced Valentine to life imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 12 years. While on the lower end of the 10-to-25 eligibility range allowed under the Criminal Code, McMahon said he was taking into account Valentine's guilty plea which showed an "exceptional exhibition of remorse." ....four years later.....

At the outset of the hearing, lawyers argued what could be published and broadcast about Tuesday's proceedings. McMahon eventually turned down a sweeping publication ban proposed by the Crown and defence lawyers for the two remaining accused, although their identities cannot be reported.

The Creba family was not present in court and asked that the proceedings take place without their victim impact statement being read in court.

Gillezeau read an agreement statement of facts into the record relating to the night Creba was killed on Yonge St. north of Dundas St. during a gunfight between two rival groups on Dec. 26, 2005.

The Riverdale Collegiate student was caught in the crossfire. Six other people were wounded in the shooting.

Court was told Valentine attended a holiday gathering that afternoon in Regent Park before deciding to accompany a friend, Milan Mijatovic, to the Foot Locker, since both men wanted to buy shoes for their children.

Valentine was armed with a loaded .357 snub-nosed revolver.

What is not reported was that this creep was not even supposed to be out of his residence as he was confined to his residence due to a previous charge

After arriving at Foot Locker, Valentine and Mijatovic noticed a man enter the store with one of the sleeves of his coat hanging loosely off his body, his arm obviously concealed inside the coat. "This indicated to Mr. Valentine that the man held a firearm in his hand and as concealing it under his coat," the crown attorney said.

Sensing trouble, Valentine and Mijatovic left the store and once on Yonge Street confronted a large group of men.

Valentine said to one of the men: "Are these your boys, 'cause these are my boys. And I have a .357." While he was speaking, he waved the gun in the air.

Members of the larger group to the north of Valentine drew their guns, prompting him to fire his in the direction of the larger group, Gilliezeau said.

A gun battle ensued and "Mr. Valentine intended to kill one or more of the group members when he discharged his firearm."

Valentine fired his gun until it was empty. Creba was struck in the back by a single bullet and died a short time later in hospital. Six others were wounded.

While Valentine admits he used a .357 during the shooting, the gun was never recovered. Between four and six guns were used during the shootout that happened around 5:15 p.m. on the crowded downtown street.

The bullet that killed Creba "was consistent with having been fired from a .357 magnum calibre revolver of the type used by Mr. Valentine," Gillezeau said.

However, it could also have been fired from two other types of firearm, he said. "As such, while it is very likely that the bullet that killed Ms. Creba was fired from Mr. Valentine's firearm, that determination cannot be made with certainty."

After the facts were read in, Sapiano told court he had some "clarification comments."

He said before the shooting, Valentine was surrounded by a group of men inside the Foot Locker who had tried to rob him of his chain.

Gillezeau said the Crown would make no submissions on this point, though there is no evidence to support the allegation.

Last December, Jorr-ell Simpson-Rowe, was convicted of second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault in relation to the Boxing Day gunfight.

Jury selection for the remaining two defendants is to begin Jan. 25.

As previously posted by another...we have a Legal system but not a Justice system.

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In this Creba case, allow him an appeal. If he's found guilty again, execute him.

Our jails are filled with criminals who aren't fit to grace this planet. I know the arguement of what if they are found innocent 20 years later still holds, that is why I have always said, if there is any doubt, incarcerate for life.

As for the ones who are guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, a fifty cent bullet will take care of that quite readily.

If the government wants to save money, then do it by reducing the unneccessary waste in the prisons. Not by cutting programs for law abiding citizens.

Just an opinion mad.gif


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