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The Stamp Guy didn’t deliver.
The Stamp Guy didn’t deliver.
Allan Fischer, 59 – nicknamed “The Stamp Guy” by Canada Post investigators who figured out his scheme to acquire postal products through numerous fake business accounts – was due in court on Tuesday with a lawyer and his medical records.
He had neither. “I didn’t entirely agree” during his final hearing in August, he told Superior Court Judge Spencer Nicholson. He said he was sure the 90 minutes set aside for sentencing submissions on Tuesday was only to update the case.
But that’s not what the court records say.
Fischer represented himself without an attorney at his trial where he was found guilty of fraud and possession of property obtained by crime worth more than $5,000. Through an elaborate scheme, Fischer defrauded Canada Post of $234,763.31 between 2013 and 2016.
Fischer has created numerous fake business accounts with fake emails, phone numbers, and bulk mail addresses. Each bogus business could order up to $7,500 worth of stamps and products without a credit check.
Fischer had the postal products destined for bogus businesses in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia sent to rented UPS mailboxes he owned throughout the Southwest. of Ontario.
He sold the stamps at 30% off to various businesses that contacted him through an online Kijiji ad. He never paid any of the Canada Post accounts.
Assistant Crown Attorney Adam Campbell has previously said the prosecution is seeking a four to six year prison sentence for the crimes, plus restitution.
At Tuesday’s hearing, which like the trial was held online, Fischer explained his medical issues, much the same as he did at the August hearing. .
Fischer told the court at the last hearing that he had reached an advanced stage of Crohn’s disease and had few treatment options left.
He repeated much of what he had said before, telling Nicholson his next treatment is “a last ditch effort to see if it helps.” He won’t know the results until November.
Nicholson said Fischer’s remarks sounded familiar. He asked Fischer for hospital records. Fischer said he didn’t have them.
“I’m sure I was very clear about the requirement for medical documentation,” Nicholson said, as the court needs evidence beyond Fischer’s claims that he is under intense treatment.
“That’s an important consideration when I’m determining what the proper and appropriate sentence is,” the judge said.
As for retaining a lawyer, Fischer said he spoke to a Stratford lawyer who is handling another case for him, but he had no firm commitment. He said he didn’t have enough money to pay a lawyer to conduct a trial, but he could afford a day of submissions.
Nicholson was sure he had told Fischer to prepare for sentencing and had the court clerk read his comments from the final hearing detailing what was expected.
Nicholson said he wanted to keep the case on track, although he acknowledged he needed to be fair to all parties. He recalled that Fischer was already asking about an appeal in June when Nicholson convicted him and told Fischer that before he could appeal he had to be convicted.
“I can’t leave this limbo and bring it back again and again and again. This is not how the administration of justice works,” the judge said, adding that there is a victim of fraud who deserves a resolution to the case.
At that time, Nicholson said he would move forward with sentencing submissions, but Fischer asked for more time.
He asked for two weeks to hire a lawyer and retrieve the medical file, repeating once again that he did not understand what was expected of him at the last hearing.
“I need a lawyer during these submissions,” he said.
Campbell told the judge that’s how Fischer conducted himself throughout the case, which began 64 months ago, or more than five years ago. He said Fischer would hire attorneys who would back out of the case at the last minute, further delaying proceedings.
“This is a case where I would prefer that Mr. Fischer had a lawyer. But he, again, demonstrates the same behavior again,” Campbell said.
Fischer said he had the right to a lawyer and could get one. “I think I have that right and I don’t think asking for a few weeks is unreasonable,” he said.
Nicholson reluctantly agreed. “I don’t feel good about reversing course mid-hearing, but there’s no question that this is a matter of tremendous importance to Mr. Fischer,” he said. .
He gave Fischer until October 11 to send the court and the Crown his medical records. When the case returns on Oct. 13, sentencing submissions will continue whether or not Fischer has retained an attorney.
“Mr. Fischer, I can’t stress enough how uncomfortable I feel giving you the adjournment this morning,” Nicholson said. “It won’t happen again.”