Morrisseau Art Fraud-Related Criminal Issues

The R.C.M.P. Morrisseau Art Fraud Investigation

Federal Enforcement Section

A Sept 2008 -Dec 2010 Royal Canadian Mounted Police national investigation which "uncovered evidence of fraud" has failed, to date, to provide the necessary evidence to prosecute those responsible. Hundreds of witnesses and suspects were interviewed by RCMP investigators including eye witnesses to forgery production and participants who disclosed their roles in the fraud, however...
"The Evidence necessary to formulate reasonable grounds to assess criminal responsibility against individuals and galleries in the Greater Toronto Area was lacking ...."
RCMP, July 2012
The Thunder Bay Police Services/Ontario Provincial Police Investigation
In December 2010 a comprehensive investigation report was forwarded by the R.C.M.P. to the Thunder Bay Police Service for consideration of initiating a criminal investigation in the Greater Thunder Bay area.
One Gary Bruce Lamont of Thunder Bay named in multiple lawsuits as central to the alleged Morrisseau art fraud scheme became the focus of an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police. This resulted in a related conviction before Superior Court Justice Fregeau who called Gary Bruce Lamont, “A Serial Sexual Predator, preying upon young vulnerable victims”. He sentenced Lamont to five years imprisonment for five counts of sexual assault. Read the Netnewsledger article of Feb 9 2016.  Read further documentation
The RCMP continue to solicit information that may assist with the Morrisseau fraud investigation. New evidence may be submitted directly to the Federal Enforcement Section, Toronto West Detachment, 2755 High Point Drive, Milton, ON L9T 5E8 for review and assessment. Read an RCMP freedom of information request response dated March 12 2014
Anyone with information about Gary Bruce Lamont is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Roger Gagne of the Ontario Provincial Police at 807-939-2133, Thunder Bay Police Service at 807-684-1200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

Regina v Otavnik 

Dismissed at Trial (May 2013)
On April 6 2010 Joseph Otavnik was arrested and charged by the Toronto Police Service (53 Division) for the alleged assault and criminal harassment of Ritchie Sinclair
Status: The Otavnik Criminal Court trial of Feb 24 2012 was adjourned to March 2013. The Crown failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and Mr. Otavnik was found, Not Guilty, on May 17 2013.
Note: Mr. Otavnik sued the Toronto Police Services Board and four officers in Oshawa Small Claims Court in 2010. His action was dismissed with costs against him in December 2013.
  • Regina v Joe Otavnik Judgment (May 2013)

Otavnik was found to be guilty of several counts of criminal harrasment in an unrelated case that was later dismissed on appeal for time technicalities. Regina v Joe Otavnik Judgment (Oct 2009)

Regina v Sinclair

Dismissed at Trial (March 2012)

On December 18 2010 Ritchie Sinclair was arrested and charged by Toronto Police Service (53 Division) for the alleged criminal harassment of Joseph McLeod.

Status: The Sinclair Criminal Court trial of March 12 2012 took place after a week of motions regarding an adjournment proposed by the complainant. Sinclair's accusers did not appear at trial and the Crown submitted no evidence against him. SINCLAIR was found, Not Guilty and the Court found that the Complainant, Mr. McLeod, provided "inaccurate" information to the Police and the Crown.
Callaghan for the Crown, Strathman for the Accused

The Regina v Sinclair Trial - March 12 2012

MR. CALLAGHAN: The information that the police had was directly from Mr. McLeod that there was an appointment today. Given that what I submitted to the court would appear not to be accurate on the Crown's application for adjournment, I'm abandoning that application. What I am going to ask is that the accused be arraigned, and I don't intend to call any evidence.
MR. STRATHMAN: I have a very brief comment, but I'm going to save that until after the evidence.
THE COURT: Okay. If the defendant can be arraigned then, please.
THE COURT: Ritchie Sinclair, you stand charged on or about the period of September 3rd in the year 2010 and December 18th, in the year 2010, in the City of Toronto, in the Toronto Region, knowing that Joseph McLeod is harassed, did repeatedly communicate directly or indirectly with Joseph McLeod, thereby causing Joseph McLeod to reasonably, in all the circumstances, fear for his safety, contrary to the Criminal Code. How does the Crown elect to proceed?
MR. CALLAGHAN: Summarily.
CLERK OF THE COURT: And how do you plead to the charge, sir; guilty or not guilty?
THE ACCUSED: Not guilty.
MR. CALLAGHAN: I can indicate, for the reasons that I have previously stated on the record, Your Honour, the Crown won't be calling any evidence.

THE COURT: So the Crown calling no evidence, Mr. Sinclair, the charge that you are facing is dismissed.
THE ACCUSED: Thank you, Your Honour.
THE COURT: Okay, so any release you were on is vacated as of now.
THE ACCUSED: Thank you, Your Honour.
MR. STRATHMAN: If I can just indicate for the record, it's the defence position that Mr. McLeod committed a fraud on the police, and on the courts, and unfortunately it has finally been dealt with at this time.
MR. STRATHMAN: Thank you, Your Honour.

Regina v Sinclair Trial Transcript Excerpt - March 12 2012