On Monday, Judge Laurie Halfpenny MacQuarrie signed an order releasing the next batch of six search warrant documents related to the RCMP’s investigation of the mass murders of April 18 and 19.
Eight media organizations, including the Halifax Examiner, have hired lawyer David Coles to petition the court to release the documents. So far, 13 document sets out of an expected 22 have been released, albeit they are extremely redacted. We’ve instructed Coles to ask for a judicial review to challenge Halfpenny MacQuarrie’s decisions related to the redactions.
In any event, despite the redactions, we learned new information through the documents released Monday. The new information below comes via an “Information to Obtain” (ITO) for a production order related to a video at Brink’s’ Burnside office.
FINTRAC issues Suspicious Transaction Reports
The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) issued multiple Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) related to the killer, who the Halifax Examiner calls GW, and Northumberland Investments Inc., a company that is owned and controlled by GW.
Northumberland is registered in New Brunswick but uses 193 Portland Street in Dartmouth as its address — that was the address of GW’s home and denturist business. Northumberland additionally used a Fredericton, NB address; that address is an apartment building, and if GW ever lived there he had long ago moved away.
The first STR was issued by TD Bank on August 10, 2010. Northumberland Investments had been a client since 1988, but in 2010, Northumberland made three suspicious deposits — two cash deposits totalling $200,000, and a “partial cashing of a term deposit” of $46,000. “Activity shows client depositing large sum of cash and offsets bulk of funds via drafts payable to” GW.
“That looks like money laundering,” Jessica Davis, a securities and intelligence expert who worked at FINTRAC before starting her own consulting firm, told the Examiner in a phone interview. “The document doesn’t say where the cash came from. It’s hard to believe that the bank didn’t ask, so that’s frustrating.”
Asked if FINTRAC may have disregarded or overlooked the 2010 STR, allowing GW’s financial malfeasance to continue, Davis said “maybe FINTRAC looked into it, but there might have been too many other things going on to look at it. I can’t be certain it’s money laundering.”
The ITO quotes a cousin of GW, who was interviewed by RCMP Sgt. Corey Kilburn on April 28. The cousin, whose name is redacted, is a retired RCMP officer. When placed in the interview room, the cousin noted that while he was an RCMP officer he interviewed people in the very same room.
According to the ITO, the cousin “pretty much grew up” with GW and “found him to be a strange little guy.” GW’s parents were “bizarre,” said the cousin.
For GW, said the cousin, “everything was about money” and “he talked about it all the time.”
GW “was paranoid and put his houses in his parents’ name as he was worried about CRA coming for him. GW’s father wouldn’t take his name off the property and that caused the argument.” Both the cousin and GW’s common-law wife describe a vicious attack by GW on this father, albeit the wife said it happened in Cuba and the cousin said it happened in the Dominican Republic.
The cousin said “the last time he spoke with GW, GW talked about how easy it would be for someone to collect all sorts of credit cards, run them up and leave…. GW was always thinking of ways to beat the system and ways to screw Revenue Canada. GW was a scammer and an opportunist.”
The ITO documents that, indeed, GW had “all sorts of credit cards” and other financial instruments. He had five PayPal accounts; three VISA accounts with TD Bank, as well as a “personal account” and a chequing account; two VISA accounts with RBC, as well as two jointly held personal accounts with the Dartmouth branch, one jointly held personal account with the Fredericton branch, and a line of credit with the Bedford branch; and a credit card with CIBC.
Davis suggested that the multiple VISA accounts at each bank could be re-issuances after one card expired, but there is not enough information to confirm that.
Three more STRs were issued in 2020, on April 20, April 22, and May 1 — after the murders, although they detail suspicious activity for several years before the murders. Several of the transactions were “reported to FINTRAC”; it’s not clear from the documents if they were reported before or after the murders.
The transactions are as follows:
GW’s PayPal account — between March 22, 2019 and December 5, 2019, GW’s account was “believed to be used to make purchases for items utilized in the facilitation of domestic terrorist activities.” Those purchases totalled US$3,741.58, and included “vehicle accessories commonly used by police, including items specifically labeled as being intended for police use.” GW bought the items through eBay, with credit cards from TD Bank and CIBC.
Northumberland’s TD Bank account — between June 1, 2019 and April 18, 2020 (the day the murder rampage started), the Northumberland account was used for “atypical cash deposits over reporting thresholds that were primarily utilized to fund drafts payable to” GW. Specifically, one payment of $15,192.66 was made to GW’s personal Visa account, and a second payment of $37,288 was made payable to GW, and was later deposited in a CIBC banking account owned by GW.
GW’s personal TD accounts — a payment of $15,192.66 was made from GW’s TD personal account to his VISA account held at TD, and a draft of $37,278 was made payable to GW and was deposited into GW’s CIBC account.
The Brink’s withdrawal — an employee with CIBC’s Corporate Security explained the Brink’s withdrawal of $475,000. On March 20, GW “liquidated some of his assets by cashing in GICs that were purchased in 2017 and received $400,000. He deposited that money in his business account.
Five days later, on March 25, GW “redeemed some investments and received $75,000.” He also placed that money in the business account. The same day, he spoke with the branch manager at the Portland Street CIBC branch and requested that he be given $475,000 in cash, in hundred dollar bills. “Arrangements were made” to provide the cash through Brink’s, which was done five days later.
The regional director of corporate security with Brink’s Canada confirmed the transaction was arranged by CIBC, as did an employee at the Burnside Brink’s office.
“That shows that he wasn’t being paid because he was an RCMP informant,” Davis told the Examiner. “That Maclean’s story is all wrong.”
“This struck me as simply a small town transaction,” said Davis. The bank didn’t have that kind of money in its vault, so they made the transfer through Brink’s.”
There are other details of GW’s financial transactions, but aside from minor amounts (less than $1,000), most document the purchase of retired police cars and police gear.
There’s more non-financial information contained in the ITO, and we’ll report on that in future articles.
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