4 Cape Breton women with $3.6M in fraud charges request trial by judge alone

·1 min read
Four Cape Breton women are charged with federal tax fraud involving 10 companies, including the former Spaghetti Benders restaurant in Boularderie, N.S. (Gary Mansfield/CBC - image credit)
Four Cape Breton women are charged with federal tax fraud involving 10 companies, including the former Spaghetti Benders restaurant in Boularderie, N.S. (Gary Mansfield/CBC - image credit)

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has adjourned a hearing into a multimillion-dollar fraud case in Cape Breton after the four accused requested changes in their defence.

Justice Patrick Murray was scheduled to pick a trial date Monday in Sydney for four women who allegedly claimed $3.6 million in HST rebates on $56 million in sales for things like cookbooks, children's clothing and frozen dinners.

The Canada Revenue Agency says Lydia Saker and her daughters Nadia Saker, Angela MacDonald and Georgette Young falsely claimed federal tax rebates between 2011 and 2015 through 10 companies including the former Spaghetti Benders restaurant on Boularderie Island and companies called Housewives in Heels, Artisan Hair Loss Therapy, Maddie and Bella's Children Clothing, Latatia Advertising, Kishk, and New and Chic.

After a three-day preliminary inquiry in Sydney provincial court earlier this month, Judge Ann Marie MacInnes ruled there is enough evidence to go to trial on all 30 charges.

The women had previously pleaded not guilty and elected trial by judge and jury.

On Monday, however, the women said they want to be self-represented and tried by judge alone.

The Crown did not object, but Murray said it would be difficult to find room on the calendar for a trial that could last five weeks or more.

The matter will return to court April 6.

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