Sentencing delayed for former Mint employee

A former employee of the Royal Canadian Mint was in Ontario court last week for a sentencing hearing; however, sentencing was delayed after the court heard 35-year-old Barrhaven resident Leston Lawrence is attempting to pay back the Mint for everything he stole.

On Nov. 28, the court heard Lawrence – a now-terminated Mint refinery operator who thwarted several layers of security by hiding gold pucks (worth about $6,800 each) inside his anal cavity – is trying to reimburse his former employer to the tune of about $165,000. His next court date – scheduled for Dec. 19 – will include a progress report on his attempted restitution. Sentencing submissions will likely be made Jan. 25, 2017.

As he left the courthouse last week, Lawrence said he had no comment.

CROWN CONVICTION

On Nov. 9, Lawrence was convicted of theft, money laundering, possession of property obtained by crime, conveying gold out of the Mint and breach of trust by a public official.

Ontario Justice Peter Doody agreed with the Crown’s theory of Lawrence smuggling 22 gold pucks (over the course of several months) inside his person to evade the Mint’s metal detectors.

“In my view, there is only one conclusion that can be reached when the totality of the evidence is considered: that Leston Lawrence secreted gold pucks out of the Mint,” said Doody during his hour-long ruling on Nov. 9. “The evidence from the records of the archway metal detectors is consistent with the defendant having regularly secreted gold in his rectum.”

Following the ruling, Crown attorney David Friesen said he would be seeking jail time as well as the forfeiture of assets purchased by Lawrence with money from the stolen gold.

WHERE’S THE GOLD?

Lawrence activated the Mint’s archway metal detector, which all of the Mint’s secure-area employees must pass through, 28 times between Dec. 15, 2014 and March 2, 2015 (a period of 41 days); however, he was cleared with a secondary search via a hand-held wand each time. The searches never produced any stolen gold, although investigators eventually found a container of vaseline, which prosecutors claimed was used to hide the gold within the accused’s anal cavity, in Lawrence’s work locker.

But it wasn’t the Mint that discovered the rectal riches; it was a Royal Bank teller, who was alarmed by the frequent sizeable deposits and Lawrence’s desire to wire the money outside of Canada. The teller, whose bank is also located at the Westgate Shopping Centre, noticed Lawrence’s place of employment listed as the Mint and notified Royal Bank security; soon after, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began an investigation.

 

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