A Toronto tradesman says he hopes a nearly decade-long "nightmare" has come to an end, after someone allegedly used his identity for years and ran up tickets and unpaid taxes in his name.
The Ontario Provincial Police held a news conference on Tuesday, in which they allowed the victim to tell his story and explained the investigation they conducted that has since led to charges.
A couple of years ago, Brian Perrault was making his way to his grandmother’s funeral on Highway 400, when he was stopped by police.
He would soon learn that his driver’s licence had been cancelled and that there had been police pursuits involving someone who had been using his identity.
"Fortunately, one of the officers that stopped me knew that I was not that person and by the time it was all sorted out that day, I missed my own grandmother’s funeral and my driver’s licence was still suspended," Perrault said Tuesday, when describing that day to reporters.
That incident came years after he had first been mailed tickets in 2005 from Thunder Bay, Ont., a place he had never even been to at that time.
More tickets arrived from other jurisdictions in the years to come, which Perrault said were never issued to him.
Trouble continued after traffic stop
Perrault said his driver’s licence remained suspended for six months after he was stopped on Highway 400, which meant that he couldn’t commute to work during that time.
He ended up losing his job and "nearly went bankrupt and ended up thousands of dollars in arrears and financial obligations, including child support," he said.
Perrault said he became afraid to even pick up his mail, as he never knew what might arrive next.
"I even got a bill from Revenue Canada for over $10,000 in taxes for a job that I had never worked at when I was working at another place," he said.
The OPP say that they first learned Perrault’s identity had been stolen when he was stopped on the highway.
Within weeks, another man was stopped in a tow truck, also on Highway 400, in January of 2012.
'I even got a bill from Revenue Canada for over $10,000 in taxes for a job that I had never worked at when I was working at another place.' - Brian Perrault
OPP Chief Insp. Don Bell said that driver failed to provide valid identification. Police soon determined that he was wanted on a number of warrants and was also known by a number of aliases.
"Further police investigation revealed enough evidence to conclude that the accused had stolen the identity of our victim and had subsequently used that stolen identity to avoid various provincial and criminal charges," Bell said.
Police also allege this same individual used the stolen identity to obtain various licences, registrations and licence plates in Ontario and Alberta.
Robert Shawn Maitland, 47, faces a total of 57 criminal code charges that include fraud, impersonation, possession of stolen property, as well as identity theft and breach of recognizance.
The accused is due to appear in a Newmarket, Ont., court on Thursday.
Police are concerned that there may be other alleged victims.
While police would not identify how they believe Perrault’s identity was stolen, he said that he had only lost one piece of identification in his life — a SIN card — back when he was a teenager.
Perrault also said he does not buy merchandise online.