Galbraith arrested in Pigeon King investigation
CTV Southwestern Ontario
Published Thursday, December 2, 2010 7:13PM EST
Arlan Galbraith, 62, of Cochrane, Ont. turned himself in to Waterloo Region Police on Dec. 1 in connection with fraud and bankruptcy charges.
Galbraith was the sole owner and shareholder in Pigeon King International.
Waterloo Regional Police Staff Sgt. Dale Roe says "He's charged with one count of fraud over $5,000 contrary to the criminal code and he's charged with four violations of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act."
The fraud charge relates to allegations Galbraith defrauded individuals in Canada and the U.S. of over $1 million between 2004 and 2008, when the company declared bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy charges relate to fraudulent contracts and a failure to comply with bankruptcy regulations. No additional charges are expected.
Police estimate about 1,000 people invested a total of $20 million in the purchase of pigeons, while allegedly being promised guaranteed financial returns.
Investors were led to believe they could make millions raising the pigeons and then selling them. Some believed they would be used for racing, others for meat in specialty markets.
Rowe says "The volume of the number of complaints and potential victims and the volume of the information that we collected, the documents that had to be examined, that was the challenge."
Susan Taves is a bankruptcy trustee with BDO Canada. She says the claims against Pigeon King International and Galbraith currently total about $30 million.
Taves says "the assets have pretty much all been sold and we've got a bit of money in the trust accounts and we're just waiting for the next steps which are in part related to these charges."
Now creditors will have to wait even longer to see if there's anything left for them after professional fees are taken care of.
According to Taves "Any criminal charges may result in a restitution order and if that's the case that typically gets paid to the trustee in bankruptcy, so BDO would need to hold the account open for that period of time."
Galbraith was released on bail after a brief court appearance Wednesday and is expected to return to court in Kitchener on Jan. 25, 2011.
The investigation continues and anyone with information is asked to contact the Waterloo Regional Police Fraud Branch at 519-650-8500 Ext. 8380/8381 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.