Nova Scotia

Complaints build against convicted fraud artist

Complaints are being made against Halifax woman awaiting trial on 14 counts of fraud and 12 counts of breach of probation.

Linda Buchanan was convicted of defrauding a Lunenburg bank in 2010

Linda Buchanan arriving at Halifax provincial court for an arraignment on fraud charges last January. (CBC)

Complaints are being made against a Halifax woman who's awaiting trial on 14 counts of fraud and 12 counts of breach of probation.  

Linda Buchanan has been organizing a trade show for the fashion industry called the Fashion and Design Festival.  

According to her website, Buchanan planned shows in Saanich and Prince George, B.C., Winnipeg, Man. and Whitehorse, Yukon. One was promised for Moncton but was never scheduled.  

CBC News checked with the operators of the venues in each of these communities where the festival was scheduled. They said the events never happened because Buchanan didn't pay her deposit in time.  

Don MacKinnon, president of the Atlantic Canadian branch of the Better Business Bureau, says his organization has received a number of complaints.  

"The pattern of complaints in the trade shows — is usually they stretch them right across a country, or North America and book them at various sites and then keep selling them... I guess in the hopes they can sell enough in each of the areas before they get caught up to."  

The CBC corresponded through email with would-be exhibitors in Winnipeg who paid to rent booths at an event. They say they never received refunds for the event that didn't happen.   

"The situation we became aware of in this case was a situation in Winnipeg where a woman wanted to know so she contacted the BBB in Winnipeg," said MacKinnon.   

While MacKinnon was able to warn that woman, two others tell CBC News they paid Buchanan to rent booths and never got a refund.  One of them has become so fed up waiting, she has gone to police.  

The sixth and final stop on this trans Canada tour of the Fashion and Design Festival is supposed to be going on Friday at Historic Properties in downtown Halifax, but there was no sign of it.  

Late Friday afternoon, Buchanan contacted CBC News. She confirmed the festival is not happening and blamed her legal problems. She said continued media attention is making it difficult for her to do business.

 Her trial on fraud charges is set to begin next April.

History of fraud

In April 2010, Buchanan was convicted of defrauding a Lunenburg bank, admitting to bouncing a cheque for $17,000 three years before.

The current 12 charges she is facing on breach of probation stem from this conviction.

Buchanan was arraigned on 18 charges of fraud and breaching probation in January.

Buchanan, the head of Strut International Model & Talent Agency, has been accused of defrauding nine people.

She's currently facing 14 counts of fraud in addition to her breach of probation charges.