Fraud charges stayed against Peterborough’s Shane Smith
Shane Smith’s fraud over $5,000 charges have been stayed.
The Peterborough man, along with five others, were charged by the RCMP financial crime team in 2014 for allegedly stealing millions, which cost the federal government more than $200 million.
“My reputation has been completely destroyed,” Smith said after Justice Bonnie Croll ruled to stay the charges on Thursday in Superior Court of Justice in Toronto.
Stayed charges can be brought back to court within one year of the day they are stayed, but it is uncommon.
“To be accused of something is one thing, but there is no innocent until proven guilty,” Smith said.
“We were completely destroyed in the media, financially and personally when you are supposedly innocent.”
Croll ruled the case had taken too long to come to trial and that Smith’s rights to trail within a reasonable period of time were violated.
In 2016, the Supreme Court set a deadline of 30 months for Superior Court cases to be completed from the time the charge is laid to the conclusion of trial.
Smith was arrested almost five years ago. He said it’s nice to have the weight lifted off his shoulders, but he knew he didn’t do anything illegal.
“The RCMP made up their minds on something and they worked backwards to try and put pieces in place to make it look like their decision was real,” Smith said.
“It is bittersweet because I wanted to get them up and examine them. I wanted to put the allegations and evidence in front of them and show what they did was wrong.”
According to a RCMP press release in 2014, the investigation
began in April 2012 when they received information that people were involved in a possible taxavoidance scheme.
The RCMP raided Smith’s Spillsbury Dr. home in 2013 as part of the investigation.
As a result of their investigation, the RCMP determined that since 2004, at least six individuals enticed thousands of investors to participate in an alleged illegal tax shelter. Investors were led to believe that they could legitimately purchase a company’s business losses that could then be used to lower their taxable income, the RCMP said.
“You have a case of CRA wanting to put an end to this program, which they did, using the RCMP as the tool to do it and failing to do it because there was no evidence of a crime at all,” Smith said. “The fact that the CRA doesn’t like it, doesn’t make it illegal or immoral.”
It was alleged that many of these losses were fraudulent because the companies involved with the accused did not have agreements for their losses to be transferred over to third parties. In other instances, the businesses that provided a large portion of the losses were controlled by the accused. It is also alleged that these losses were fabricated. The accused received a percentage of the allegedly fictitious losses.
“What is unethical about putting money into a company, taking the loss from it and writing it off ?” Smith said, adding the estimated 5,500 clients were involved in a joint venture program.
“Joint ventures are not even in the Tax Act. The CRA has no way of stopping it from happening, even though they allow massive corporations to do this every day.”
According to the RCMP, these business losses resulted in substantial illegitimate income tax refund cheques being issued to these claimants off the backs of taxpayers. Smith says there are no victims here.
“Our 5,500 clients knew what we were doing was legitimate, legal and ethical. It was just because Revenue Canada didn’t like it,” Smith said.
Since 2004, the risk of financial loss by the federal government because of this specific fraud exceeds $200 million, RCMP said.
The companies used by Smith to run the alleged scheme included: Integrated Business Concepts (IBC), Synergy Group 2000, Cason Global Wealth Association (CGWA) and IBCA 2009.
“Over five years they destroyed us and bankrupted us,” Smith said.