Former CEO Garth Reid charged with defrauding Baffin Fisheries

·2 min read

The former CEO of Baffin Fisheries has been charged with defrauding the company he once led.

Garth Reid is accused of fraud over $5,000 and criminal breach of trust.

The case is scheduled to be called at provincial court in St. John's next month.

Baffin Fisheries is a 100-per-cent Inuit-owned company.

The company's corporate office is in Iqaluit. There is an operational office in Paradise, N.L.

Court documents filed in Newfoundland allege that the fraud and breach of trust took place in Paradise, between October 2016 and April 2017.

In the fall of 2017, Baffin Fisheries terminated Reid and sued him in civil court for $1.4 million, alleging that he built on his private property in Winterton, N.L., and billed the company for the work.

Bruce Tilley/CBC
Bruce Tilley/CBC

Reid denied the allegations, and countersued Baffin Fisheries for breach of contract and defamation.

In late 2019, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Vikas Khaladkar ruled that Reid used company funds for "his own use and benefit," and ordered the former CEO to repay $544,049 plus interest.

Contacted by CBC News Thursday afternoon, Reid steered inquiries to his lawyer, Mark Gruchy, who did not immediately return a phone message.

In a statement emailed to CBC News, current company CEO Chris Flanagan referenced that prior civil court decision.

"I've spoken to board members who represent the thousands of owners, and they are relieved that charges have finally been laid, more than three years after we brought this to the attention of police," Flanagan wrote.

"The shareholders of Baffin Fisheries are all Inuit beneficiaries under the Nunavut Land Claims Act, so this is a very well known case in Nunavut and there are thousands of shareholders keen to see their assets recovered and justice served."

According to its website, Baffin Fisheries is jointly owned by five Hunters and Trappers Associations in the Qikiqtani Region of Nunavut: Pangnirtung, Amaruq (Iqaluit), Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Mayukalik (Kimmirut), and Namautalik (Clyde River).

The company owns and operates two factory freezer trawlers and one factory freezer gillnetter.

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