Post office authorities in Winnipeg were accused of negligence Thursday for sending thousands of dollars in Wheat Board cheques directly into the hands of a convicted cheque artist in Stony Mountain penitentiary.
The fraud artist, Harry Slavin, 37, received three years in pententiary in city police court Thursday when he admitteded four charges of conspiring to defraud with two other city persons.
These two, William Kaplan and Annette Kaplan, his daughter, did not appear in court but were remanded until July 12 for hearing.
Total value of the cheques uttered by Slavin, court was told, was $3,106, of which he received only a small portion. Samuel Freedman, representing Slavin, asked Magistrate M.H. Garton for "leniency tempered with mercy" since the accused gave his fullest co-operation to the police in finding the remains of the cheques.
Old Mail Bags.
"These cheques were not 'stolen as my learned friend suggested," said Mr. Freedman. "They were delivered to post office authorities. When mail bags get old, they are sent out to Stony Mountain for repair. Owing to the negligence of an employee a bundle of government cheques was sent in one of the bags to the penitentiary," explained Mr. Freedman.
"To send them to the penitentiary was a negligent act which literally invited the commission of a crime," he said. Slavin, he added, had disclosed fully what had happened. He led police to a spot in St. Boniface where the burnt embers of the remaining Wheat Board cheques still lay.
Passing sentence, Magistrate Carton said he was going to take into consideration the fact that Slavin was placed under a "major temptation" when the mail bag containing the bundle of cheques came into his possession just prior to his release from penitentiary.
"I don't think a five-year sentence would be out of the way in view of his record," said Magistrate Garton, "but in view of what you said, I'm going to give him a three-year sentence."
Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press, July 5, 1951.