Huge lobster fraud scheme exposed in Nova Scotia
Royal Canadian Mounted Police filed charges last week against three people they suspect were involved in a CAD 3 million (USD 2.2 million, EUR 1.99 million) lobster fraud scheme that took place over the past several years in Nova Scotia.
Terry Banks, 51, of Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia, Canada, the former manager of D. Light Seafoods, along with his brother Wayne Banks and another man, Chris Malone, are charged with several counts of fraud and theft. They allegedly stole millions of dollars’ worth of products from four different seafood companies operating in Nova Scotia.
Seafood companies that were a target of the scheme included Sure First Seafood Company, of Taiwan, and CRT Seafoods Ltd., of Clark’s Harbour, Nova Scotia, according to a CBC News article.
"These individuals were running a complex and sophisticated operation that required extensive police resources and expertise to investigate," said Superintendent Martin Marin, Southwest Nova District policing officer for the RCMP, in a statement. "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.”
The 22-month investigation began in July 2015, after a Barrington RCMP discovered that a Shag Harbour man had defrauded a Shelburne County lobster company of CAD 175,000 (USD 129,461, EUR 115,696) during the 2013-2014 lobster fishing season.
Then, during the course of the investigation, evidence emerged that during the 2014-2015 lobster fishing season, a Clark's Harbour lobster company was defrauded of more than CAD 500,000 (USD 369,890, EUR 330,698), according to the RCMP.
In addition, during the 2015-2016 lobster fishing season, a Barrington, Nova Scotia company was defrauded of more than CAD 500,000, while a Shelburne County company was defrauded of CAD 1.7 million (USD 1.3 million, EUR 1.1 million), and a Taiwanese company was defrauded of more than CAD 250,000 (USD 184,198, EUR 165,384).
Banks has bought and sold tens of millions of dollars’ worth of lobster over two decades, often through a plant he operated in Shag Harbour. He has exported the lobster to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Italy and Spain, CBC News reported.
“Along the way, he's also defrauded one of Canada's largest banks out of CAD 8 million (USD 5.9 million, EUR 5.3 million), been convicted of stealing tens of thousands of pounds of lobster, and has left a trail of creditors in his wake,” CBC News said. “And yet, somehow, he has continued to operate.”
The men will return to court on 24 August to face the charges.