Fake prescription and string of offences leads to house arrest

An attempt to fraudulently obtain prescription medication was among the string of 15 criminal offences for which a Penticton woman.

An attempt to fraudulently obtain prescription medication in someone else’s name was among the string of 15 criminal offences for which a Penticton woman has been placed on house arrest for nearly a year.

In provincial court last week in Penticton, Mae Lynnette Postel, 28, was handed a 311-day conditional sentence followed by 18 months’ probation, in addition to time served of 289 days.

Her conditional sentence will be served at home, provided she follows a number of conditions, including abiding by a curfew and not possessing identification or cheques in anyone’s name but her own.

Postel earlier pleaded guilty to offences including identity theft and fraud in connection with a six-month crime spree that ended with her incarceration in January 2014 for breaching a court order.

Crown counsellor Catherine Crockett told the court Postel’s run began July 11, 2013, when a nurse at Penticton Regional Hospital called police to report Postel was trying to get a prescription for a narcotic painkiller using someone else’s identification. Police later learned the prescription was written out on a pad stolen from a Keremeos doctor’s office.

Then on Sept. 26, 2013, Postel was arrested after walking out of Save-On-Foods in Penticton with a cart full of merchandise for which she never paid. The items, with a total value of $809, included makeup and candy.

“This isn’t necessarily sustenance type of stealing,” said Crockett.

A month later, Postel was arrested for shoplifting at a Save-On-Foods in Kelowna and told police she was someone else: a woman whose personal identification and banking information she had earlier obtained and used for other criminal activity in Penticton. Crockett said the victim of that identity theft is a single mother who has had a “very, very difficult” time putting her life back together and coming up with money to replace her stolen documents

Defence counsel James Pennington said Postel “suffers from a number of challenges,” including an addiction to opiates that began when she was prescribed pain medication for a back injury.

“When addicts are in the grips of addiction, they will go to great lengths to do what they need to do to feed that habit,” he said.

Postel told the court she has completed 22 programs, including first aid and building health relationships, while behind bars, and has been on methadone for a year.

“I’ve done a lot of work since I’ve been in here,” she said via videoconference from a Lower Mainland jail. “I’d just like to get another chance to prove myself.”