Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Someone jailed on fraud charges

Officials unsure of man's identity

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HE claims his real name is Andrio Martin -- yet police and justice officials admit they aren't 100 per cent sure exactly who they're dealing with.

Martin, 26, pleaded guilty to 15 fraud- and counterfeit-related charges on Monday in a unique criminal case that may have raised more questions than it answered.

Martin admits getting caught in Winnipeg last August with bank cards, social insurance numbers and driver's licences of several fictional individuals. He was arrested after getting in a bar fight in which he punched two bouncers.

Police began doing background checks on Martin and were surprised by their findings.

A fingerprint taken by investigators provided a match to a man named Mark Coleman. As well, police were unable to find records of anyone with Martin's name and birthdate being born in Ontario as he claims. Police did learn that Martin -- under that name -- faces several charges in Calgary, including dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, escaping custody, obstructing police officers and possession of counterfeit materials.

All of this led to confusion in the court Monday, with Provincial Court Judge Tim Preston wondering what to make of the identity crisis.

"I need to sentence someone and know who they are," said Preston.

Martin just sat in the prisoner's box smiling as his lawyer attempted to solve the issue.

"He is Andrio Martin. I've met his mom," Roberta Campbell told court.

The sentencing proceeded and Martin was given a 10-month stint behind bars under a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers. Martin also agreed to be put on a peace bond to have no contact with the two men he admits punching.

Martin claims he had all the bogus identities to allow him to travel to various places in Canada, while still on bail in Calgary, without being detected. He purchased a WestJet plane ticket to Winnipeg under one of the fake names, court was told.

There are no allegations Martin stole any money or committed other forms of fraud.

The Crown questioned whether there isn't more to the mystery, noting Martin was convicted of similar forgery offences in 2006 and was believed to be at a Winnipeg bar last year with other known members of a criminal organization who are involved in identify theft.

"The logical conclusion to make is (these identities) are for nefarious purposes," Preston said Monday. "It's a recipe for criminality."

Martin has served just over seven months of pre-trial custody, which was given single-time credit under new federal legislation.

He will have to spend about 10 more weeks in jail under this sentence, then will have to face his legal issues in Alberta, which are set for trial later this year.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2012 B2

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