HALIFAX: A resident of Richmond County pleaded guilty and was fined for evading the payment of duties and taxes on jewelry.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced that Lobsters ‘R Us owner Blaire Vincent Martell of Rockdale pleaded guilty in Dartmouth Provincial Court on June 28.
The court fined Martell $7,500 for the evasion offence. In addition to the court imposed fine, Martell will also have to pay the CBSA a civil penalty of $17,334.51 for the return of his jewelry.
On March 24, 2018, Martell and his wife arrived at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport after a four-week absence from Canada, according to the CBSA. The couple had a combined declaration of under $300 in goods, but during the examination of their baggage, CBSA officers found three undeclared pieces of jewelry valued at approximately $35,000 purchased outside of Canada. A bracelet and two rings were seized and held as evidence, and the Martells were arrested and released pending the completion of the criminal investigation.
Colin Murchison, CBSA’s manager of Criminal Investigations for the Atlantic Region explained that they take their mandate to ensure the collection of duties and control the movement of goods into and out of Canada “very seriously.”
“I can’t speak to an individual’s motivation but what I can tell you is that failure to report all goods is in contravention of the Customs Act and in this case led to prosecution,” Murchison said.
The CBSA reminds all travellers to truthfully declare all purchases and items received when returning to Canada. Failure to report all goods may lead to penalty action up to and including seizure of the goods. Smuggling, undervaluation and other Customs Act contraventions may also lead to criminal prosecution in a court of law.
“People who smuggle jewelry in order to avoid paying duties and taxes should be aware they can face severe penalties,” said Dominic Mallette, Acting Director, Enforcement and Intelligence – Atlantic Region for the CBSA.
“We will continue to be vigilant in prosecuting those who purposely evade duties and taxes.”