Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Deportation for accused scammer

Court date here soon in alleged cancer fraud

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An American accused of scamming a Manitoba charity for kids with cancer is getting kicked out of the country -- it's just a question of when.

The Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) ruled Wednesday in favour of deporting Tyrell Cox, 33, once his fraud and forgery charges are resolved.

IRB member Trent Cook sided with the government that Cox, who is neither a citizen nor permanent resident of Canada, is ineligible to stay in the country on the grounds of "serious criminality" due to his criminal past in the U.S.

Cox was arrested by Winnipeg police last August and accused of crimes of deceit relating to a fishing fundraiser for kids with cancer in 2011. He is presumed innocent and remains free in the community on conditions.

Jim Bais, treasurer of the Kids Fishing For a Cure event, previously told the Free Press he was approached by Cox, who used a fake name of Ty Chartrand, wanting to volunteer.

Bais said the arrangement was for Chartrand to give him a $7,200 cheque at the end of the event, but the money never appeared.

Bais said he went to police after he was presented with a deposit slip showing the funds had been given to CancerCare Manitoba, yet CancerCare had not received any money.

The Manitoba charges against Cox did not form part of Wednesday's IRB hearing. However, lawyer Frank Johnson said he believes Cox has a "very strong defence" to them. Johnston lost a bid to adjourn the deportation hearing until the "unfounded" fraud allegations were resolved.

The IRB hearing was told Cox has a prior conviction out of Carroll County, Md., in April 2001 for unlawful use of a credit card.

"I took full responsibility," Cox testified. "I had no jail time, no fees," he told Cook, adding he took a plea bargain to "shut the case down."

A police report and a signed statement said Cox called a phone-sex line and paid using a credit card a customer had left behind at a store where he worked, Cook said.

Cox also has a conversion-of-property conviction from Virginia in 2004, and is accused of failing to turn up in court in May 2008.

"I was already here," he told Cook. "I didn't know it was a court proceeding."

Cox's Manitoba charges return to provincial court Jan. 28.

The IRB hearing was told it was possible the Crown and government officials could move to stay the charges to speed up his deportation, as border officials can't remove Cox until they're concluded.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2014 B2

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