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Justice

Man charged with defrauding NSCC plans to revoke guilty pleas


A man charged with forging cheques and defrauding the North Slave Correctional Complex, or NSCC, is disputing details of his involvement in the alleged criminal scheme. He plans to rescind guilty pleas to several charges.

RCMP announced in June 2020 that four people – including Molson Romie – had been charged after a cheque issued by the NSCC’s inmate trust fund had been altered and deposited 36 separate times into various bank accounts.

Police said at the time they believed a total of $23,407.92 had been taken from the fund, which serves as an inmate’s bank account while they are incarcerated. 

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Romie had pleaded guilty to seven charges of forgery and fraud in connection with the case and was set to be sentenced in territorial court in Yellowknife on Monday afternoon.

After the Crown prosecutor read an agreed statement of facts in his case, however, Romie denied he had been involved in altering the cheque or depositing any funds.

“I’m the one that brought the cheque there, that’s it,” he said. 

Now that Romie denies participating in the criminal activity for which he has been charged, he will have to apply to change his pleas from guilty to not guilty. 

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According to the statement of facts – much of which Romie now disputes – Aaron Nitsiza, released from NSCC in December 2019, was issued a legitimate cheque from the inmate trust fund for 71 cents. 

Romie is accused of altering that cheque by writing different monetary amounts, cheque recipients, and signatures on pieces of paper, then placing them over parts of the cheque and photographing it. He is then alleged to have used those photos to deposit funds into bank accounts belonging to Amanda Lamouelle and Tyleen MacKenzie through a banking app. 

In total, Romie is alleged to have created and photographed 16 different versions of the cheque and deposited $11,244 into bank accounts over four days in January 2020. 

Crown prosecutor Madison Walls said the fraud was detected “quite quickly” and all of the funds were returned to NSCC by the bank.

There is often an agreed statement of facts in cases where an accused person pleads guilty to criminal charges. That document lists details about a crime that both the defence and prosecution have agreed on. 

In this case, however, Romie’s lawyer Jay Bran told the court: “Either I was confused or he was confused.” He said Romie has now requested translation services. 

Romie’s next court appearance on the case is scheduled for December 13.

Amanda Lamouelle, who is separately facing forgery and fraud charges in connection to the alleged scheme, is set to face trial on December 16. 

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