The Nova Scotia RCMP has charged three Shelburne County men following a 22-month investigation into allegations of lobster theft and fraud totalling approximately $3 million.
In July 2015, information came forward to Barrington RCMP indicating that a Shag Harbour man had defrauded a Shelburne County lobster company of $175,000 during the 2013/14 lobster fishing season.
The Shelburne County Street Crime Enforcement Unit (made up of RCMP members from Barrington and Shelburne detachments) and the Yarmouth Federal Serious & Organized Crime Section began a lengthy and complex investigation.
During the course of the investigation, evidence indicated that during the 2014/15 lobster fishing season, a Clark's Harbour lobster company was defrauded of over $500,000. During the 2015/16 lobster fishing season, a Barrington company was defrauded of over $500,000, a Shelburne County company was defrauded of $1.7 million and a Taiwan company was defrauded of over $250,000.
On May 17, 2017, three men were arrested in Shelburne County without incident and charged with the following:
Fifty-one year-old Terry Dale Banks of Shag Harbour:
· Fraud over $5,000 x 4
· Theft over $5,000 x 3
Sixty-nine year-old Wayne Lawrence Banks of Shag Harbour:
· Fraud over $5,000 x 3
· Theft over $5,000 x 3
Fifty-one year-old Christopher Olen Malone of Port Clyde:
· Fraud over $5,000 x 1
· Theft over $5,000 x 1
"These individuals were running a complex and sophisticated operation that required extensive police resources and expertise to investigate," says Supt. Martin Marin, Southwest Nova District Policing Officer. "The outcome of this investigation is significant as those charged had substantial reach and influence on the local, national and international seafood market. Had this fraudulent activity continued, Nova Scotia's economy and seafood industry could have been negatively impacted."
In order to conduct an investigation of this complexity, assistance was obtained from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canada Revenue Agency, Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG), the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture, and the Yarmouth/Clare Street Crime Enforcement Unit comprised of members from Yarmouth Town, Rural & Meteghan RCMP detachments.
Supt. Marin adds, "An investigation of this magnitude clearly demonstrates what excellent teamwork between detachments, agencies and partners can achieve."
Christopher Malone and Wayne Banks were released on conditions and are scheduled to appear at Shelburne Provincial Court on August 24, 2017. Terry Banks was held and appeared on May 18 in Shelburne Provincial Court and was released on conditions. He is also scheduled to appear on August 24 at Shelburne Provincial Court.
Note to media: Southwest Nova District Policing Officer Supt. Martin Marin will be available to speak to media at 1:00 p.m. at the Barrington RCMP Detachment, 2486 Highway 3, Barrington.