Identity Theft and Fraud Suspects Arrested in Vancouver Area

5 June 2015

Over the past few weeks, there have been two major arrests for identity theft and credit fraud in the Vancouver area.

The first took place in Richmond, where for the past few months, residents have been plagued by mail thieves who have been targeting community mailboxes. According to the Richmond RCMP, they have likely made “a serious dent” in the local mail theft rate with the arrest of two suspects who have been known to police for some time.

Robert Anthony Nordhagen, 28, and Janessa Rachelle Wallace, 21, have been charged with seven counts of mail theft in total. The two Richmond residents were arrested in the early morning hours of Friday, May 24, when a neighbor reported that someone had damaged a community mailbox in the 8000 block of General Currie Road. By following the suspect’s beige 90s-model Mercedes Benz, police were able to track down and apprehend Nordhagen and Wallace.

These arrests come after Richmond RCMP confirmed in April that there has been a spike in mail theft in the area.
“The increase in statistics is partly due to increased criminal activity but also to the reporting of mail theft. What may have not been reported to police before, or reported only to Canada Post as damage to a superbox, for example, is now being tracked by police as it’s [sic] own crime type. Mail theft as a phenomenon is occurring in many municipalities throughout BC,” Richmond RCMP Corporal Dennis Hwang told the Richmond News.

Meanwhile, in Surrey, two more criminals described as “prolific offenders” have been arrested for their role in a fraud operation that led to nearly $350,000 in losses for credit card companies. Dean Gallo, 32, of Surrey and Hannah Denman, 26, of Delta have both been charged with fraud of more than $5,000 and possession of credit card data, and Gallo has also been charged with possession of a firearm while prohibited.

According to Surrey RCMP spokesman Corporal Scotty Schumann, the pair are known to the police, although they aren’t affiliated with any major crime groups. Gallo has been recommended for charges by the police 41 times since 2010, and 15 of those recommendations involved financial fraud.

When officers carried out a search warrant on the two suspects’ homes, they found 250 stolen credit cards and 450 pieces of stolen mail from mailboxes in Surrey, Richmond and New Westminster. They also found a $10,000 bicycle, a loaded shotgun, body armor, nun chucks, brass knuckles and hard drugs.

“Identity theft or the theft of personal information can be the starting point to a range of crimes, from financial fraud and forgery to abuse of government programs,” Dan Weaver of the Canadian Bankers Association told The Province. “A thief only needs a small amount of identification, as little as your name and date of birth, to start building their new identity and committing fraud.”

To help prevent identity theft, sign up for a credit monitoring service, which can alert you to certain activity on your credit file that may indicate fraud.