Nova Scotia men convicted of defrauding DND out of $2M avoid jail time
Fraudulent scheme covered 4-year period and involved buying and selling parts for a base's heating plant
Two Nova Scotia men who defrauded the Department of National Defence out of about $2 million have each received two-year conditional sentences, meaning they aren't going to jail.
The Crown had been asking for federal prison terms for Bry'n Ross, 65, and Harold Dawson, 60, following their convictions for fraud.
But Justice James Chipman dismissed that idea and gave them two years of house arrest.
"I am of the overwhelming view that it would not be in the interests of justice to commit Messrs. Ross and Dawson to a prison environment," he wrote in his sentencing decision.
The convictions followed a six-week trial last year in which 37 witnesses testified and 47 exhibits were introduced. The court heard that, as a purchasing agent for Canadian Forces Base Shearwater in Eastern Passage, N.S., Ross repeatedly steered contracts to his friend Dawson.
For his part, Dawson created four companies to make it appear as though there was competitive bidding on the contracts for parts for a heating plant at the base.
In arguing for prison terms, the Crown said this was a sophisticated fraud and compared it to the Knowledge House case, one of the longest and most complicated trials in Nova Scotia history in which two men were convicted of fraud of about $86 million.
However, Chipman said Ross and Dawson's fraud was not that sophisticated.
"While it is true that Mr. Ross and Mr. Dawson committed the offences over a relatively lengthy period of time, I do not regard their scheme as being very complicated or sophisticated," the judge wrote.
"Indeed, I venture to say that had the late 2011 file reviews been carried out earlier, and in the same fashion, I have no doubt that the crimes would have been detected much earlier."
The judge also noted that both men are first offenders and had very positive pre-sentence reports.
Four people were initially charged as a result of the investigation dubbed Operation Aftermath.
Wayne Langille, who was a former manager of the heating plant, entered a guilty plea before the trial started. A charge against Dawson's wife, Kimberley Dawson, was dropped.
The heating plant has since been replaced.
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