Mounties allege inside theft at Royal Canadian Mint


By Kelly Eagan
Ottawa Citizen
Friday, September 11, 2015

On Sept. 16, in Courtroom No. 5, an Ottawa man is to appear on charges with a Hollywood ring: smuggling gold from the fortress-like Royal Canadian Mint.

And not just a flake or two. Leston Lawrence, 34, of Barrhaven, is facing five criminal charges, including theft over $5,000, laundering the proceeds of crime, possession of property obtained by crime, and, in the often arcane language of the Criminal Code, "conveying metal out of the Mint."

According to a document sworn by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, the charges relate to activity between Nov. 27, 2014, and March 12 this year.

It was all kept hush-hush, of course. No news release from any law-enforcement agency, or the Mint, headquartered on Sussex Drive; no amounts disclosed. But Ottawa is a small town where the sidewalks whisper. So a tipster called us.

A Mint spokesman declined comment on the matter, except to say an unidentified employee had been terminated earlier this year. Curiously, Christine Aquino said the Mint had been "informed" of the charges by the Mounties, rather than instigating the investigation itself.

In other words, the alleged theft appears to have gone undetected at the Mint. ...

... For the remainder of the report:


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