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UPDATED: New Minas car dealership allegedly defrauded of $1.3 million


Six people arrested Sept. 19, released and will each face related charges

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

An RCMP 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 16-month 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 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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