New Mi­nas car deal­er­ship al­legedly de­frauded of $1.3 mil­lion

Six peo­ple ar­rested in Kings County in re­la­tion to fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - SARA ERIC­S­SON KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA

Six peo­ple fac­ing fraud-re­lated charges are due in court this De­cem­ber af­ter a New Mi­nas car deal­er­ship was al­legedly de­frauded of $1.3 mil­lion.

An RCMP press re­lease says two men and one woman were ar­rested in Kentville, as well as one man and one woman in Ber­wick, and one man in Can­ning in the early hours of Sept. 19.

The ar­rests fol­lowed a 16month in­ves­ti­ga­tion led by the Nova Sco­tia RCMP Fi­nan­cial Crime Sec­tion, with as­sis­tance from New Mi­nas RCMP and Kentville Po­lice Ser­vice. Po­lice are al­leg­ing the $1.3 mil­lion in ques­tion re­lates to 26 of the deal­er­ship’s ve­hi­cles.

RCMP spokesper­son Cpl. An­drew Joyce con­firmed the cars in­volved are all pre-owned ve­hi­cles, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was prompted af­ter the deal­er­ship’s owner re­ported a fraud al­le­ga­tion.

“There was no in­di­ca­tion that the scope ex­tended be­yond these 26 ve­hi­cles,” said Joyce.

He also con­firmed “there was a re­la­tion­ship be­tween some of the par­ties and the deal­er­ship, but not all of the par­ties.”

Joyce said fraud cases typ­i­cally take months to in­ves­ti­gate due to the amount of pa­per­work in­volved. This case took even longer, he said, due to the num­ber of in­ter­views con­ducted.

“Where you have 26 ve­hi­cles in­volved, and they’re pre-owned ve­hi­cles, there was prob­a­bly a good chance you’d be in­ter­view­ing peo­ple who owned the ve­hi­cles be­fore the deal­er­ship was in­volved, and af­ter­wards,” he said.

“That means 26 ini­tial in­ter­views, fol­lowed by at least 26 times two, be­cause of the af­ter in­ter­views and then other peo­ple who have re­la­tion­ships to the in­ci­dent.”

All six in­di­vid­u­als were ar­rested with­out in­ci­dent and each re­leased from cus­tody later that same day. Each will face charges in­clud­ing fraud over $5,000, money laun­der­ing, and pos­ses­sion of pro­ceeds of crime.

All six peo­ple will ap­pear at Kentville pro­vin­cial court on Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m. Names and the lo­ca­tion of the deal­er­ship in­volved are not yet con­firmed. The names of those ac­cused of com­mit­ting fraud will be con­firmed once charges are for­mally laid.

Corn­wal­lis Chevro­let pres­i­dent and board mem­ber Jamie Williams con­firmed his deal­er­ship is not in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Pat Forbes, pres­i­dent of Forbes Kia, also pro­vided a state­ment con­firm­ing that his deal­er­ship — along with all cur­rent or for­mer em­ploy­ees — is not in­volved.

Bruce Hyundai pres­i­dent Justin Barker said “this was the first he was hear­ing” of the fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“There’s one thing I can con­firm — it’s got noth­ing to do with Bruce Hyundai or our em­ploy­ees,” he said.

When reached by home tele­phone Sept. 20, Ken Bar­rett would not con­firm if he was a vic­tim of the al­leged fraud when he was an owner of the for­mer Sum­mit Hyundai in New Mi­nas.

“I’m sure you can ap­pre­ci­ate I don’t want to com­ment while this in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing,” he said.

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