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B.C. business owner says ex-employee stole $200K, but RCMP won't pursue charges

Ian Binstead says a former employee stole more than $200,000 from his family business in Richmond, B.C., but the RCMP won’t pursue charges.

The co-owner of Galleon Marine Inc. told CTV News they have evidence of thefts totaling “just under $220,000 over a four-year period.”

According to Binstead, around 70 transactions took place in which the employee refunded money using a debit/credit card terminal attached to a computer in the office right next door to his.

“She was putting in either a Visa card or debit card and processing refunds to herself,” said Binstead, who added that the employee would process the refunds during peak season when business was booming and focused on sales.

An accountant spotted the missing funds, prompting Binstead to go through hundreds of pages of transactions through the years, gathering evidence. The business eventually reported the missing money to police in January 2021.

At first, police seemed to take the investigation very seriously, Binstead said. Officers conducted multiple interviews with Binstead and communicated with him regularly.

During the investigation, Binstead sued the former employee in an attempt to get some of his money back – but said he first approached police to inquire if a civil suit would compromise the investigation.

“We asked the RCMP if we can do it. Can we proceed with this? Will it interfere with your investigation? We asked them several times and the answer was no,” said Binstead. “(They said) criminal and civil are two completely separate things, you can proceed with your civil action.”

In civil court, the former employee signed a consent order admitting she owes Galleon Marine a total of $218,820.14.

“She didn’t even argue it,” said Binstead.

Binstead thought the admission would help lead to swift justice in the criminal case. However, in an unexpected twist, the civil case ended up resulting in police deciding not to pursue charges.

“This matter has proceeded to civil court and has been resolved,” Cpl. Dennis Hwang of the Richmond RCMP told CTV News in a statement. “ Civil resolutions prior to the completion of a criminal investigation can complicate their resolution.”

A criminal lawyer told CTV News that civil cases shouldn’t interfere in the criminal court process.

“To hear that the RCMP have closed the investigation in light of the civil resolution that may have been struck does strike me as being somewhat unusual,” said Jason Tarnow, a criminal defence lawyer at Tarnow & Co. “I don’t know why they would’ve done that.”

Tarnow said if anything, the civil resolution should have assisted the RCMP in its investigation.

“If they have an admission or signed agreement of guilt, that would solidify the offence and really make the police investigation that much easier, in my opinion,” he added.

Tarnow said internal theft cases are not taken lightly by the courts, with those convicted often ending up with a prison sentence.

Binstead meanwhile hasn’t recovered any of the funds from his former employee, and his insurance doesn’t cover the theft.

“I’m just very, very disappointed because now this thief can go get a job at the next little small business and do the same thing,” said Binstead.

Despite the significant setback, Binstead said he’s exploring alternative options for justice. Top Stories

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