Prison for men who used fake companies to swindle millions from DND

·2 min read
Bry’n Ross (left) funnelled contracts to four companies associated with Harold Dawson (right).  (CBC - image credit)
Bry’n Ross (left) funnelled contracts to four companies associated with Harold Dawson (right). (CBC - image credit)

Two Nova Scotia men who swindled the Department of National Defence out of millions of dollars are being sent to prison.

But given that they've already been serving conditional sentences it's not clear how much time, if any, Harold Dawson and Bry'n Ross will actually spend behind bars.

The two men were convicted in September 2019 of fraud over $5,000. They were sentenced on Feb. 25, 2020, to conditional sentences of two years, less a day.

The Crown appealed those sentences and in a decision released Wednesday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal agreed with the Crown and substituted prison sentences.

During the four years in which the offences were committed, Ross was a purchasing officer at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater outside Dartmouth. Dawson was a businessman who bid on contracts to supply the base heating plant.

Evidence at their trial revealed how Dawson set up four companies to make it appear as though there were competitive bids for contracts. Ross knew what Dawson was doing and awarded a disproportionate number of contracts to Dawson's firms.

While they didn't determine an exact dollar figure for the frauds, the court accepted that it totalled about $2 million.

"What Messrs. Dawson, Ross and Langille perpetrated over the four-year period can only be described as complicated and sophisticated," Justice Anne Derrick wrote for the three-member appeal panel.

She also mentioned Wayne Langille who, with Ross, was a civilian purchasing agent for the military. Langille pleaded guilty to his part in the crimes before trial of the other two.

"It is beyond dispute that it was a large-scale fraud, carefully planned, deliberately executed and painstakingly disguised. Messrs. Dawson, Ross and Langille continued their fraudulent scheme until they were caught," Derrick wrote.

The Court of Appeal has sentenced Ross to 36 months in prison and Dawson to 42 months. Both men are getting credit for the time they've spent serving their conditional sentences.