A Burnaby man who had turned his rental apartment into a credit card factory where he stored thousands of stolen identity documents and cards, forgery equipment and faked cards has been jailed for 15 months.
Anthony Stulec, 30, wearing bright red prison T-shirt and sweats and white runners, nodded to his mother when he was led into the courtroom. He pleaded guilty to seven charges, including faking ID and credit cards, illegal possession of mail and identity documents and possession of forgery equipment.
"It was a fully functioning, fully fledged credit card factory," said Crown Jonas Dow.
Stulec stood in court to say "sorry to everybody I've affected" and then turned to say "sorry" to his mother after Judge Reg Harris suggested he do so, saying he "should be ashamed of his behaviour."
"This is the last place on earth that a mother wants to be," said Harris.
He also said identify theft and fraud "attacks the very foundation of our commerce and that's why they're serious."
Dow and defence lawyer Anthony Robinson agreed on recommending a 15-month sentence.
"He [Stulec] is willing to take his lumps by doing the real jail time," said Robinson.
Stulec was arrested and charged in March after an IT employee at a repair shop found a fake bank card jammed inside a printer and called police.
Equipment seized included computers, card readers, embossers, high-end printers, boxes of hotel receipts, payment cards, driver's licences, passports and several fake documents with Stulec's photo and various names.
The evidence displayed by RCMP in March for media filled eight large tables and included a Canada Post jacket and bag, 15 hard drives, a foil stamp and break-and-enter tools.
RCMP spokesman Insp. Tim Shields said at the time bank accounts were opened with fake IDs.
But Dow said police were instructed to drop the investigation into whether Stulec committed any ID fraud after he "capitulated" and said he'd plead guilty when police busted his apartment.
Outside of Stulec using the name of a real person when he dealt with the repair shop, there are "no allegations of uses of these cards," said Dow.
But in an email to The Province, the person whose name he used (whom The Province is not naming for the sake of his privacy) said the RCMP told him five bank accounts "ringing up more than $50,000" were opened in his name and that he was still trying to clear his name. Police also found 13 credit cards, two driver's licences and a B.C. Care Card in his name, he said.
Charged with Stulec was Stephanie Smyth, 21, with whom he shared the apartment and remains in a relationship. She's scheduled to appear in court next month.
Stulec's lawyer noted she wasn't involved in the criminal activity.
Stulec had originally been charged with 19 offences but the other charges were dropped, likely in exchange for a guilty plea. He has been in custody since his arrest and will be credited for time served.
He waved to his mother as he was led back to jail and she waved back.
"Hopefully he learns from this," she said outside court.