Four men who were arrested last week and charged with identity theft and fraud were back in court in St. John's Monday for bail hearings.
Toussaint Yenga-Yenga, 26, and Gustave Ngandu Kalombo, 23, both of Alberta, and Joseph Kalombo Ndonki, 46, and Doudou Kikewa Mpumudjie, 29, of Montreal, were arrested Feb. 19 after the local RCMP's federal serious and organized crime unit seized stolen social insurance cards, fraudulent B.C. and Ontario driver’s licences, and cash and gift cards totalling about $10,000.
The four men were believed to have been travelling around the province and using the false identities to open bank accounts, obtain cellphone contracts, and obtain other items and services.
Yenga-Yenga was granted bail Monday morning, while Ndonki was denied bail. Ndonki, who appeared visibly upset when Judge Colin Flynn told him that he would be remaining behind bars, had been arrested twice last week: once on his own on Feb. 17, and again, two days later, with the other men.
Kalombo and Mpumudjie were scheduled to have bail hearings Monday afternoon, but the matters were postponed after court was closed due to inclement weather. They will appear Tuesday instead.
The men are facing charges of possessing identity documents belonging to others; possessing property obtained by crime, with a value of more than $5,000; defrauding unknown people; and possessing false identification information with the intent to commit fraud.
Ndonki has an additional charge of breaching orders given to him by a judge after his first arrest, while Mpumudjie has three similar charges, for orders given to him by judges in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
Police say the men's arrest comes after a three-week investigation.
"RCMP NL advises the public to be vigilant in protecting themselves against identity theft, which can then be used to facilitate other crimes, including fraud, typically for financial gain," police stated in a news release. "Residents are encouraged to safeguard their personal information, shred bills and other documents with personal information prior to discarding, be alert for offers that seem too good to be true and proactively monitor financial accounts, as well as requesting a credit report annually."