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Former DND employee sentenced for role in large-scale fraud on the government

Halifax (October 3, 2020) – The Halifax provincial court handed down the sentence for a third person, Wayne Langille, involved in a large-scale fraud against the Department of National Defence (DND). Two Nova Scotia men have already been sentenced on February 25 of this year for their roles in the fraudulent activities while buying and selling parts for the heating plant CFB Shearwater. The court heard that within four years, Langille received about $8,700 in benefits in the corruption case. After he pleaded guilty to a charge of accepting benefits, the former DND employee and manager of the heating plant has been sentenced to one year to be served in the community on September 28.

After a Corona caused delay, a third person has been sentenced in connection with a large-scale fraud at the heating plant of the Canadian Forces Base Shearwater in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. The Halifax provincial court handed Wayne Langille, a former Department of Defence (DND) employee, a one-year conditional sentence for accepting benefits.

Investigation Operation Aftermath

In late 2011, file reviews were carried out at the Shearwater military base. In the process, certain contracts awarded respecting the heating plant raised concerns. Following an investigation, called Operation Aftermath, two civilian employees of the DND, Bry’n Ross (65) and Wayne Langille (74), as well as the businessman Harold Dawson (60) and his wife, Kimberley, were facing fraud charges in 2016.

Ross was a purchasing agent for the heating plant CFB Shearwater. The court heard that between April 1, 2008, and May 9, 2012, he and Langille were repeatedly directing contracts to companies connected to Dawson in a large-scale fraud. The crown assessed that over 640 contracts were steered to Dawson’s businesses with a value of approximately $2 million. In order to create the illusion of competitive bidding on the contracts, Dawson founded four companies that were involved in the fraudulent activities.

Ross and Dawson each received a two-year conditional sentence on February 25 of this year by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Justice James Chipman in connection with the fraudulent scheme that involved buying and selling parts for the base’s heating plant. The sentence followed their conviction for defrauding the Department of National Defence (DND) during a four-year period. Justice Chipman found both guilty of Fraud Over $5,000. Dawson has been convicted additionally of Conferring an Advantage or Benefit on a Government Employee. The charge against Dawson’s wife was dropped.

‘Langille’s actions contributed to the commission of a large-scale fraud on the government’

The other accused civilian employee of the DND was the former manager of the heating plant, Wayne Langille. He pleaded guilty to a charge of accepting benefits from a person having dealings with the government in April 2019. The court heard that he received about $8,700 in benefits from Dawson. Apparently, Dawson and Langille were friends.

During the relevant time period, the majority of contracts awarded to Dawson’s companies at the heating plant were for parts requisitioned by Langille, according to the agreed statement of facts. The court found that Langille did not comply with his responsibilities by signing in bulk for the receipt of parts and directing others to do the same. Justice Elizabeth Buckle explained that he was generally lax or careless in how he applied government rules and regulations.

Furthermore, the court documents show that Langille gave Dawson inside information about needed parts at the heating plant. This gave Dawson an advantage in the bidding process which Ross was mandated to use. As part of the fraudulent scheme, the description of the requested part was generic or incomplete on numerous requisition forms submitted by Langille. As a result of Langille’s inside information, Dawson knew the specific part required. The result of these phony activities was that only Dawson could properly bid on the contract without seeking further details.

Justice Buckle also explained that in those situations where one of Dawson’s businesses was awarded the contract, Ross solicited quotes from non-Dawson companies only 11 times, and none of the outside businesses were awarded the contract. ‘The result of Mr. Dawson’s companies being the only bidders on the vast majority of the contracts was that he was often able to charge an exorbitant mark-up,’ Justice Buckle determined. ‘These mark-ups are confirmed in documents obtained from potential competitors and seized from Mr. Dawson.’

According to court documents, the police found two uncashed cheques from two of Dawson’s businesses and a bank card issued to one of Dawson’s companies during a search in Langille’s home. Further investigation revealed that Langille had used the card to pay personal expenses, including car repair, insurance, heating oil, and a telephone bill. The total was $8,742.16 in 14 separate transactions occurring between December 2008 and December 2011.

Sentenced for accepting benefits

In her decision, Justice Buckle concluded that Langille’s actions contributed to the commission of a large-scale fraud on the government by Ross and Dawson. ‘Mr. Langille’s conduct is a far cry from that of a government official who accepts a bottle of wine at Christmas,’ stated Justice Buckle. ‘He had personal expenses paid by Mr. Dawson over a lengthy period of time while Mr. Dawson’s businesses had dealings with government. This behaviour, in my view, would significantly undermine the public’s faith in the integrity of government.’

The Crown sought one year in jail arguing that there is a need to denounce and deter conduct that impacts the integrity of government. Langille’s defence lawyer recommended a fine or suspended sentence with probation. Only if custody was required, the defence asked that the former manager of the heating plant would be allowed to serve it in the community on a conditional sentence emphasizing the mitigating factors.

Justice Buckle agreed with the defence that a properly crafted conditional sentence could achieve the sentencing objectives and ordered a one-year conditional sentence on September 28. She argued that permitting the 74-year-old to serve his sentence in the community and keep his job ‘will ensure that the sentence does not interfere with those aspects of his life that are pro-social and contribute to the long-term safety of the community.’

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Langille, who now works in Alberta, will be on house arrest for the first six months of the sentence, either in Alberta or in Nova Scotia, with exceptions for employment, medical emergencies or appointments, legal commitments, church services, and four hours a week for attending to personal needs. He is prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs for the full 12 months.