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Two Kentville men accused in $1.3 million Summit Hyundai fraud yet to enter pleas

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Two Kentville men accused in a $1.3 million fraud from the Summit Hyundai dealership have designated Halifax defence lawyer Joel Pink as their legal counsel. - File Photo

Third co-accused yet to make initial court appearance

KENTVILLE, NS - Two Kentville men facing charges in relation to a New Minas car dealership being defrauded of $1.3 million have yet to enter pleas in court but have designated legal counsel.

Darren Bateman, 53, and Justin Darren Bateman, 30, were not present in Kentville provincial court on Dec. 4. Both filed designation of counsel to be represented by Halifax defence lawyer Joel Pink.

According to court documents, both signed papers in Halifax on Nov. 30 designating Pink as counsel in all court proceedings arising out of the charges they’re currently facing. Pink has authority to appear at proceedings without the accused being present when permitted, with the consent of the accused. Their matters have been adjourned to Jan. 24 for election and plea.

The Bateman’s are charged jointly with possessing in excess of $5,000 knowing that the money was obtained by the commission of an offence and defrauding 3095480 Nova Scotia Limited, operating as Summit Hyundai, of in excess of $5,000. It’s alleged that the offences were committed between Dec. 1, 2015, and Feb. 1, 2017.

The two last appeared in court on Nov. 1, when they successfully requested to have undertaking conditions varied to allow for out-of-province travel to New Brunswick to continue conducting a used car business.

Permission was granted for the men to leave Nova Scotia between Nov. 3 and Dec. 10. They must be back in the province and return their passports to police by Dec. 12. After that, they must remain in Nova Scotia but can travel outside the province once per month with prior notice of travel dates being provided to the RCMP.

A third co-accused, Orlando Anastasius Smith, 58, of Berwick, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on the charges on Dec. 11. Smith is also charged with threatening to use violence against two justice system participants in order to provoke a state of fear and impede the administration of justice.

According to a news release issued by the RCMP in September, two men and one woman were arrested in Kentville, as well as one man and one woman in Berwick and one man in Canning, on Sept. 19.

The arrests followed a 16-month investigation led by the Nova Scotia RCMP Financial Crime Section, with assistance from the New Minas RCMP and the Kentville Police Service. The investigation was prompted after the owner of the car dealership reported the fraud. It’s alleged that the $1.3 million in question relates to 26 pre-owned vehicles.

The fraud relates to the former Summit Hyundai, not the current Bruce Hyundai dealership on Prospect Road in New Minas. Charges against the three co-accused have not been proven in court.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

  • With files from Sara Ericsson

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