Fraud charges against former Baffin Fisheries CEO dropped

Police didn’t try hard enough to investigate, says current CEO

Baffin Fisheries is seeking ownership of this home in Winterton, N.L., that the company alleges former chief executive officer Garth Reid paid for with company money. (File photo)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Newfoundland police have dropped fraud charges against former Baffin Fisheries chief executive officer Garth Reid, but the company is still going forward with its civil suit against him.

Reid faced charges of fraud over $5,000 and criminal breach of trust over the construction of a home in Winterton, N.L., allegedly built with company money.

The charges were dropped on July 4 because there wasn’t a “reasonable likelihood” for conviction, said Lloyd Strickland, a provincial Justice Department director of public prosecutions, in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

Reid, in an emailed statement, said he’s pleased that the charges were dropped.

“As new evidence has come to light, we now look forward to the civil proceedings to follow,” he wrote.

The Inuit-owned company’s current CEO, Chris Flanagan, said he’s “extremely disappointed and embarrassed for the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador for two provincial organizations to make this decision, really, against the Inuit of Nunavut.”

He said he believes Newfoundland’s police didn’t try hard enough in its investigation into the matter.

Board members weren’t contacted by police for interviews until a few weeks before the charges were dropped, which was more than four years after Baffin Fisheries originally filed a complaint with police, according to Flanagan.

“This is an insult to the Inuit beneficiaries of the Baffin region who are the shareholders,” he said.

Newfoundland police did not respond to Nunatsiaq News’s questions about Flanagan’s criticisms of the investigation.

Strickland said he could not share more details about why the Crown decided to drop the charges, citing “sensitive commercial interests [that] are involved.”

Flanagan said he was told the charges were dropped because there’s a possibility that the money could have been a loan — a defence Flanagan doesn’t agree with.

In December 2019, a Supreme Court judge ruled that Reid must pay back $544,049 plus interest and legal costs to Baffin Fisheries after the company launched a lawsuit against Reid two years prior.

Baffin Fisheries is still looking to get possession of the house in Winterton through civil court. The two parties are scheduled to appear in court in June 2023, Flanagan said.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Colin on

    They should of had the court in Nunavut not in NFLD, show us how corrupt it can be, use funds that were for training in Nunavut to build a mansion and pretty much get away with it.

    We know what he did is not right but unfortunately the courts don’t.

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    • Posted by Dulcinea on

      It does seem strange that it was investigated by the provincial police force and provincial department of Justice.
      Isn’t it clearly an inter-provincial matter that should trigger RCMP jurisdiction?

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  2. Posted by hermann kliest on

    Goodness the world is full of greed, if you cannot afford it, steal? is this today’s new business ethic with so much thievery with so may seeing so much money, it’s very tempting specially when your working middle class.

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