Halifax (February 27, 2020) – Two Nova Scotia men, Bry’n Ross (65) and Harold Dawson (60), each received a two-year conditional sentence on February 25 by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Justice James Chipman. The sentence followed their conviction for defrauding the Department of National Defence (DND) out of approximately $2 million during a four-year period. Two civilian employees of the DND, including the accused Ross, as well as Dawson and his wife, have been charged in 2016 as a result of Operation Aftermath in connection with fraudulent activities while buying and selling parts for a base’s heating plant.
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Justice James Chipman passed a two-year conditional sentence on Bry’n Ross (65) and Harold Dawson (60) each for defrauding the Department of National Defence (DND) out of approximately $2 million during a four-year period.
The court heard that between April 1, 2008, and May 9, 2012, they were participating in a fraudulent scheme that involved buying and selling parts for a base’s heating plant. The former base employee Ross was fraudulently steering contracts to Dawson’s companies. In doing so, ‘Ross’ actions worked against the Treasury Board rules designed to promote fair competition amongst Canadian businesses.’
The sentencing on February 25 followed their conviction in September of last year. 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.
Two-year conditional sentence order
On February 25, the two men from Nova Scotia received each a two-year conditional sentence, after a six-week trial last year. The conditional sentence implies that Ross and Dawson will serve their sentences in the community and will avoid jail time. In the trial, 37 witnesses testified and 47 exhibits were introduced.
Although the Crown asked for federal prison terms with due regard to the ‘large scale and complex fraud’, Justice Chipman agreed with the defense which asked for a conditional sentence. He argued that despite ‘Ross abused the trust of his employer on a regular basis for just over four years’, it could not be shown that he benefitted from the profit of the fraud. Moreover, he also gave both defendants credit that they have accepted responsibility for their actions and have shown remorse.
Since Justice Chipman did not consider the fraud as ‘complicated or sophisticated’, he concluded with: ‘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.
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, as well as Dawson and his wife, Kimberley, were facing fraud charges in 2016.
Ross was a purchasing agent for Canadian Forces Base Shearwater in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. He and Wayne Langille were repeatedly directing contracts to companies connected to Dawson between 2008 and 2012. The crown assessed that over 640 contracts were steered to Dawson’s businesses with a value of approximately $2 million.
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In order to create the illusion of competitive bidding on the contracts, Dawson founded four companies that were involved in the fraudulent activities. The other accused civilian employee of the DND was the former manager of the heating plant, Wayne Langille. He pleaded guilty before the trial started. The charge against Dawson’s wife was dropped.