Vancouver (May 21, 2020) – Vancouver mining consultant and stock promoter, Damien Edward Reynolds, received a conditional sentence for fraud and tax evasion. He was charged in 2017 for defrauding the Canadian government of an amount prosecutors estimated at more than $4 million. On May 11, a BC Supreme Court judge sentenced him to a conditional sentence of 2 years less a day to be served in the community and ordered him to pay a fine of $121,179. The jury found him guilty of one count of fraud, one count of attempted fraud, and one count of GST/HST evasion.
A BC Supreme Court judge sentenced the Vancouver mining consultant and stock promoter, Damien Edward Reynolds, for fraud and tax evasion on May 11. Reynolds received a conditional sentence and was fined for avoiding a multimillion-dollar tax bill, according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Guilty of fraud and tax evasion
2016, Reynolds’ name appeared in the leaked tax-haven financial records known as The Panama Papers, according to the CBC. And yet the investigation that led to his arrest in April 2017 had nothing to do with his offshore business. Reynolds was charged with fraud and tax evasion for defrauding the Canadian government of an amount prosecutors estimated at more than $4 million. In October 2019, after 21 days of trial, the jury found the 52-year-old man guilty of one count of fraud, one count of attempted fraud, and one count of goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) evasion.
In the Reasons for Sentence, BC Supreme Court justice Gordon C. Weatherill describes Reynolds offenses. 2004 and 2005, the dual Canadian and Australian citizen worked in Canada as a mining industry consultant and was the CEO of Tournigan Gold Corporation. In total, he earned $609,745 in taxable employment income, which he failed to report, according to the court. Consequently, he committed fraud by failing to file Canadian income tax returns for the 2004 and 2005 tax years.
Furthermore, on Reynolds’ 2007 and 2008 income tax returns, he attempted to defraud the government of Canada and British Columbia by claiming false losses. Finally, for the 2009 to 2012 tax years, he was found guilty of having willfully evaded payment of $121,179 in GST/HST.
‘Mr. Reynolds’ moral culpability is high’
The crown argued that Reynolds’ offenses targeted the trust relationship between the government and its public on which the tax system is built and that his actions, which involved significant sums in multiple tax years, were motivated by greed. The Crown acknowledged that Reynolds did not have a prior criminal record.
The defence argued that the frauds were ‘unsophisticated and did not involve any significant degree of planning, skill or deception.’ Reynolds’ lawyer also stated that he had a ‘tumultuous’ childhood full of poverty and violence at the hands of his father.
Justice Weatherill concluded that ‘Reynolds was at the material times a ‘deal-making’ entrepreneur who left the details to others. He retained the services of accountants and lawyers to handle his tax matters. Nevertheless, there is no question in this case that Mr. Reynolds’ moral culpability is high.’
Tax evasion is a crime
He sentenced Reynolds to a conditional sentence of 2 years less a day. The letters of support for Reynolds portrayed him as ‘a pillar, a role model, a mentor, a man who has sacrificed for his family and, overall, a good human being who has made a mistake and is deserving of a second chance.’ The volume and content of the letters convinced the judge that he is unlikely to reoffend and that he is no danger to the public. Consequently, he decided that Reynolds will serve his sentence in the community.
Reynolds was also ordered to pay a fine of $121,179 and the full amount of tax owing plus related interest and any penalties assessed by the CRA. Since Reynolds is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings, he has 12 months to pay the money.
The CRA remembered the public that ‘tax evasion is a crime. Falsification of records, claims and CRA documents, wilfully not reporting income, or inflating expenses can lead to criminal charges, prosecution, jail time, and a criminal record.’
Marina Burghard writes for Canadian Fraud News about fraud-related cases, whistleblower, jurisdiction, identity theft, consumer protection, etc. – essentially about scams and how to protect yourself against this kind of fraudulent criminal behavior. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science where her interest in criminology grew. Besides fraud, Marina’s scientific interest lies in terrorism, extremism and how to deal with it as a society.