SELECTED CASE LAW
In 2015 MBPC 50, Ms. C, a 27-year-old reclusive woman living in an isolated community, impersonated various people over a three-year period, including a professional video game player (Mr. TT), a 17-year-old girl from California (Ms. PD) and her mother, an NBA star (Mr. CA), and a famous musician (Mr. E). She defrauded several people, including an NBA star (Mr. CA), a television actress (Ms. NP), a girl from California (Ms. PD), and a vulnerable Texan woman (Ms. JH) while communicating with them over the internet. While impersonating Mr. CA, Ms. C convinced Ms. PD to send nude photos to her, then distributed those photos to the real Mr. CA. Then pretending to be Mr. CA, threatened to distribute the images further, and threatened to physically harm her. Ms. PD’s mother contacted the police about “Mr. CA’s” threats and sexual interactions with her underage daughter. Ms. C threatened Mr. CA while impersonating Ms. PD’s mother and convinced him to send her $3,000. While impersonating Mr. CA, Ms. C convinced Ms. NP to donate $2,000-$3,000 worth of clothing to Ms. C and to send a bottle of wine to Ms. JH in Texas. While impersonating Mr. TT, including leaving “voice messages from a male voice that the offender was able to generate from the internet”, Ms. C engaged in an 8-year long controlling and abusive online relationship with Ms. JH, and convinced Ms. JH to send her money, iTunes cards, Xbox credits and books. When Ms. C was initially charged she tried to convince Ms. JH to take responsibility for the offences, breaching her bail orders not to use the internet. Ms. C pleaded guilty to extortion, uttering threats to cause bodily harm, fraud under $5,000 and four counts of identity fraud. In sentencing Ms. C, the court stated:
Deterrence and denunciation are important sentencing factors for this offender. In both sets of offences before the court, the offender has offended using the internet. In many respects the internet has become the last lawless frontier of our society. It is a place where it is easy to remain anonymous. Cyber predators can offend from behind their keyboards without regard to the victims they leave in their wake, no matter what real life borders separate them from their victims. The online predator hides in a cyber forest of IP addresses, usernames, and passcodes; buttressed by the fact that real world boundaries cause jurisdictional issues for the authorities.
The internet is a tool of daily use for most citizens of the developed world for commerce, recreation, education, and in almost all facets of life in general. In order to properly utilize the services available on the internet, one must be able to trust that information will be protected. As technology rapidly develops, so do the opportunities to exploit unsuspecting users, both financially and emotionally. The combination of the global scope and anonymous nature of the internet results in fertile ground for online criminality. It follows that misuse of the internet in circumstances where the offender is able to anonymously manipulate his or her victims should be met with a sentence that places import on deterrence and denunciation.
Taking Ms. C’s Gladue report into consideration she was sentenced to 18 months of incarceration, two years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, along with orders to remain within the jurisdiction, attend counselling, not to use the internet except for educational and employment purposes when supervised by Probation Services, no contact with the victims, and a forfeiture of the images of Ms. PD and all other items seized.
 2015 MBPC 50, at para 49.
 2015 MBPC 50, at para 39-40.
Criminal Offence(s): Identity Fraud