Down the drain
A soggy tale of money and betrayal

by Chris Meyers Almey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 21/97) -Talk about flushing money down the drain.

Steven Illingayuk woke up in a Yellowknife jail cell and spotted a Social Services cheque he had stolen floating in the toilet.

Forget about putting the cheque in the mail. One flush and the incriminating evidence was out of sight and mind of the man who was facing his 41st and 42nd criminal convictions.

In the end, it made little difference. He had already told police he had stolen it, along with another cheque, which the Mounties had retrieved.

On Monday Crown lawyer Brad Allison told territorial court Judge Michel Bourassa that Illingayuk had been released earlier this year from Yellowknife's jail, where he was serving time for break-and-enter.

Within four weeks he had befriended a local woman and managed to get the keys to her apartment and mailbox.

The woman later reported she had lost her social assistance cheques, which had been left in her mailbox.

Later that same day RCMP arrested the man in a local store and found one of her $830 cheques on him.

Court learned that the man has worked in the Iqaluit hospital as well as a store in Fort Smith, but alcohol has been a persistent problem.

Bourassa said he's seen some sorry situations before the court, then went on to say he wouldn't hold his breath about the man's chances of staying out of jail in the future.

"Since 1987 he's been in jail every single year," Bourassa said before handing the man a sentence totalling six months in jail.

Illingayuk will serve his time in the Eastern Arctic.