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A 34-year-old Brantford man, who used an online credit card hacking application to scam stores out of more than $15,000, has spent most of the last year in jail getting sober.Daniel Brent Tenant, 33, was a “one-man crime spree,” said Justice Kathleen Baker as she sentenced Tenant to time served, giving him credit for spending the equivalent of 411 days in jail.“It was a brazen undertaking and the amounts involved were not minuscule” Baker said recently in Brantford’s Ontario Court. “The circumstances are quite aggravating.”Tenant operated with impunity for more than a year, repeatedly visiting stores in Cambridge, Guelph, Orangeville and Kitchener, until he was snagged speeding in Simcoe.It took almost 10 minutes in court to read out the 20 charges to which Tenant pleaded guilty. And those were whittled down from more than 70 charges he originally faced.“I feel like an idiot,” Tenant told the judge.“I had eight years without getting into trouble. I’ve been sober for nine months now and feel great. I don’t want to fall back into that pattern.”Tenant’s credit card crimes began in January 2017 in a convenience store in Renton, east of Simcoe, where he got snacks, drinks, prepaid gift cards and lottery tickets. He told the clerk he didn’t have a physical credit card but knew the number and entered it into the system.He was able to walk out with $1,394 worth of goods. He later sent his friends to play the same scam, bilking the store out of more than $4,500.Three weeks later, the store owner was told by Visa that the credit card numbers were stolen and the store was charged for the purchases.Tenant used his system again in December 2017. He visited a video gaming store in Guelph four times on Dec. 14, four times on Dec. 18 and three times on Dec. 20, charging amounts of $200 to $1,100 to fraudulent credit card numbers.He did the same thing in Georgetown on Boxing Day.In February 2018, Tenant defrauded a variety store in Cambridge of $2,680. The following month, still in Cambridge, he bilked a pawn shop for more than $2,000, a high-end bike store for almost $1,000, a clothing store for more than $1,500 and a pizza shop for $150.In Kitchener, Tenant defrauded a convenience store of several thousand dollars.Tenant occasionally was stymied by suspicious store clerks.At a Cambridge hardware store, he tried to pay for $857 worth of tools but left when pressed for identification. At another store, the card number he used was declined.He was identified through photos and surveillance videos at most of the stores.On March 7 last year, Tenant and a female accomplice were caught on video breaking into the compound of Aecon Mining and Construction on Elgin Street in Brantford, setting off a silent alarm.Officers followed the pair toward nearby train tracks and, while the woman ran away, Tenant stopped and co-operated with police. He had a stolen grinder in his backpack and eight spools of wire stacked by a hole in the fence.Released on bail, Tenant and a friend used a stolen credit card number to buy items at an Orangeville clothing store.On April 21, Norfolk provincial police caught Tenant speeding on Queensway East in Simcoe. Police discovered that Tenant was unlicensed, his vehicle tag had expired and there was an outstanding warrant for him.During a search, the officers found cash, gift cards, a gas-powered BB gun under the driver’s seat, cellphones, lottery tickets, two prohibited knives, brass knuckles and drugs, including methamphetamine, a few hydromorphone pills and powdered and liquid fentanyl.After that, Tenant stayed in jail and waited as the justice system gathered together his crimes from the various jurisdictions.“He stayed in jail because he wanted to clean up his act,” said his lawyer, Dale Henderson.Henderson said Tenant was a successful concrete finisher but, after two back surgeries, became addicted to his prescribed painkiller, Oxycontin.In court, Tenant pleaded guilty to 13 counts of fraud, break and enter, possession of break-in instruments, failure to appear in court, possession of a dangerous weapon, driving while suspended, and possession of fentanyl and hydromorphone.Henderson, assistant Crown attorney Michael Dean and federal prosecutor Kevin McGilly all agreed Tenant had saved the court multiple long trials by pleading guilty. They said an appropriate sentence was his time served.“On the flip side, many of these businesses are at a significant loss,” said Dean. “And it’s concerning the seeming ease with which Mr. Tenant carried out these operations, going back to the same stores multiple times each day.”[email protected]@EXPSGamble
US homebuilder sentiment slips, but overall outlook positive U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less optimistic about their sales prospects, even as their overall outlook remains favourable.The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday slipped to 68 this month. That’s down three points from 71 in March, when it jumped to the highest level since June 2005.Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 since September.The April reading fell short of analyst predictions. They expected the index to dip to 70, according to FactSet.Readings gauging builders’ view of sales now and over the next six months also edged lower, as did a measure of traffic by prospective buyers.Despite the decline in the latest builder sentiment survey, sales of new U.S. homes have been robust this year and are expected to continue climbing.Low mortgage rates and a solid job market have helped drive home sales steadily higher. Sales of new U.S. homes increased in February at the fastest pace since July, reaching a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 592,000. That sales pace was nearly 13 per cent higher than in the same month last year.A pickup in mortgage rates last fall helped spur sales early this year. In recent weeks, mortgage rates have been edging lower, making the cost of home loans less expensive.The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has fallen the past four weeks, declining to 4.08 per cent last week. That’s up from an average of 3.65 per cent all last year, but still low by historical standards.This month’s builder index was based on 307 respondents.A measure of current sales conditions for single-family homes fell three points to 74, while a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers declined one point to 52. Builders’ view of sales over the next six months slid three points to 75. by Alex Veiga, The Associated Press Posted Apr 17, 2017 8:01 am MDT Last Updated Apr 17, 2017 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
AFGHAN TEENAGER SHAKILA was shot in the back 13 months ago in the house where she worked as a maid for a wealthy local leader in one of the most progressive provinces of Afghanistan.Her murderer has never been arrested, and her family’s search for justice has laid bare the complex web of grinding poverty, attitudes towards women and a culture of immunity that plagues much of the country’s legal system.As International Women’s Day was marked yesterday, campaigners say that progress in Afghanistan is slow even after billions of dollars of Western aid and some advances since the 2001 fall of the hardline Taliban regime.The departure of the NATO coalition next year has also raised fears that the limited improvements for women could be erased as conservative groups vie to seize power in Kabul.Shakila, whowas about 16, spent the last six months of her life working for a member of the provincial council in Bamiyan, the quiet Afghan town 180 kilometres west of Kabul.Her family were poor and they needed the money from her job, but her body was found in her employer’s home in January 2012.“Investigators told us that she had been shot in the back,” her 18-year-old brother, Mohammad Alam Sadiqat, told AFP. “And doctors said that she had been raped.”In a country where an unmarried women’s virginity is sacrosanct, the shame of having a daughter raped adds to the family’s burden, but they dare not make an official accusation of sexual abuse.Most Afghan female rape victims never publicly name their attacker, out of fear of being ostracised or even killed, campaigners say.InvestigationShakila’s brother-in-law, who works as a guard in the same house, was imprisoned for six months in connection with her murder, then released.Esmail Zaki, the coordinator of a local charity, then started to investigate.“We found out that the attorney general and the judicial system had gone in the wrong direction. They had evidence that the guy (the brother-in-law) was not even there when it happened,” Zaki told AFP.Shakila’s murder was never brought to court in Bamiyan. It has since been referred to the attorney general’s office in Kabul, which could not be reached by AFP.The family owners of the home have denied having anything to do with murder, and the Bamiyan police have washed their hands of responsibility.“We did all the research we had to do. We finished that case and then handed it to the court,” said deputy provincial police chief Mohammad Ali Lagzi.One senior official in the local administration told AFP on condition of anonymity that the family’s poverty meant the odds of getting justice were stacked against them.“Her case has been taken to the AG’s office in Kabul but it seems not much has been done to give her justice,” he said.“The murder happened in the home of a member of the provincial council,” he added. “They are powerful people.”Reported cases of violence against womenLast December, the United Nations said Afghanistan had made progress in protecting women against violence and welcomed an increase in reported cases.But in 16 of 34 provinces where the UN was able to gather details, just 21 percent of 470 reports of violence against women resulted in convictions.“The situation is very difficult,” Ingibjorg Gisladottir, the UN women’s representative in Kabul, said.“There’s a lack of genuine political will to take actions that can change women’s situation. Also, there’s a culture of impunity.“It’s very unlikely that the perpetrators will be held accountable if they commit a crime against women. Some men think that women are like a property, like land or money.”Bamiyan is arguably the most progressive province in Afghanistan. It is run by the country’s only female governor, Habiba Sarobi, and has the highest proportion of girls in school – 45 percent of 135,000 children.The local government says reported cases of violence against women grew from 48 last year to 57 in 2012.“It’s because of our public awareness campaign,” says Fatima Kazemi, head of women’s affairs at the provincial government.“Now more women know that there are people who could help them, give them justice or defend their rights and thus more are going to police, authorities or rights groups when facing violence,” she added.There are also small signs of change at the national level.The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says there has a sharp increase in the number of cases reported: 5,701 in the first 11 months of the current year, which began on March 21, 2012, compared to 4,400 in the last.Latifa Sultani, who works for AIHRC, says women in the cities of Afghanistan are more aware of their rights.“But in rural provinces, they can’t go anywhere to complain,” she said, voicing frustration with the double standards that victimise women.“If a man kills his wife, it’s two years of jail. But if a woman kills her husband, she can get up to 16 years of prison,” she said.- © AFP 2013.