Nova Scotia shooting: Inquiry looks into gunman’s money

Lyndsay Armstrong, The Canadian Press

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia mass murderer used “illegitimate or suspicious means” to raise money and enjoy a lifestyle far beyond his reported annual income of $40,000. $, the investigation into the 2020 murders revealed.

But the investigation says in a document released on Tuesday that it found no evidence the shooter was involved in organized crime or was a police informant, despite rumors that surfaced after it came to light that he had withdrawn $475,000 in cash from a Brink’s office shortly before his rampage.

A recently released summary of evidence examines the schemes used by Gabriel Wortman to get rich and his tendency to hide large sums of money, including $705,000 found buried under the bridge of his property in Portapique, Nova Scotia.

The lavish spending of the gunman, who killed 22 people in 1 p.m. on April 18 and 19, 2020 before being shot dead by police, was out of step with his “modest reported annual income and other visible sources of income, reads in the document. While there are no definitive answers about the sources of all his income, there is a clear pattern of abuse. »

The killer’s common-law wife, Lisa Banfield, told the inquest that he ‘didn’t claim what he actually earned’ from his denture business, but to his knowledge he had no another source of income.

Ms Banfield worked at the shooter’s denture clinic in Dartmouth and was usually the one taking payments from patients. She said “many” of them paid in cash. She added that at the end of the day, she took the money to Gabriel Wortman at their residence above the clinic. If the patients paid by check, she cashed them and brought the money to him.

Ms. Banfield was responsible for asking patients to write checks for dentures in the name of Gabriel Wortman rather than her company, she said.

A report by the Financial Accounting Management Group found that between 2012 and 2019, the shooter’s average annual income with the Atlantic Denture Clinic, which he owned, was $39,916. Ms. Banfield’s reported annual income from her work at the clinic was $15,288.

During this period, the report revealed that Gabriel Wortman had received an additional $232,900 in his personal accounts and an additional $96,755 in a joint account he shared with Ms. Banfield, although no indication was given. where the money came from.

A report commissioned by the inquiry found that Ms Banfield and the shooter were spending beyond their declared incomes. For example, Gabriel Wortman spent approximately $23,600 on federal government GCSurplus items and $19,400 through the PayPal service between December 2017 and May 2020. During the same period, Ms. Banfield spent approximately $56,000 in grocery stores and clothing stores.

From December 2017 to April 2020, Gabriel Wortman’s accounts, including one he shared with Ms. Banfield, one for his holding company and one for his denture company, had combined deposits of approximately $865,600 and combined withdrawals of over $1.16 million.

A cash withdrawal of $475,000 on March 30, 2020, involving CIBC and Brink’s, sparked speculation that the shooter was being paid as a police informant, but the investigation found he withdrew the money after he began to fear that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause banks in Canada to collapse.

Joe Morgado, senior director of corporate security at CIBC, told the RCMP that he was initially concerned about Gabriel Wortman’s request for a cash withdrawal because recovering such a large sum could mean someone suffers pressure or is the victim of a scam.

But after e-mailing with CIBC employees and the shooter, Mr. Morgado understood that Gabriel Wortman was concerned about “the state of the bank” and noted that “many other customers” were concerned that “the banking system does not collapse » due to the pandemic.

Mr Morgado noted that it is unusual for someone to ask for such a large sum of money, but he felt that Gabriel Wortman was a “middle-aged professional” who “had gradually amassed a sum of money and now wanted it removed. He said the bank processed the withdrawal through Brink’s because they didn’t want to risk having so much money on their premises if something went wrong.

The RCMP denied that Gabriel Wortman could have worked as an informant and, in a separate report for the investigation, investigator Dwayne King concluded that the $475,000 withdrawal was not payment for an informant’s work. . Mr King said that even if confidential informants are paid in cash, the police would not require the informant to go to a business with CCTV and provide identification, as Gabriel Wortman had to do to recover his money at Brink’s.

The document reports rumors about the killer’s involvement in drug trafficking. He and Ms Banfield often traveled to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and although Ms Banfield told the inquest she was often alone “all day” on vacation, she saw no evidence of trafficking drugs or other criminal activity while travelling.

One piece of evidence indicates possible involvement in the sale or purchase of large quantities of cannabis. A 2018 Via Rail boarding pass found among Gabriel Wortman’s personal effects contained handwritten notes that appeared to be a cannabis price list. The back of the Via Rail ticket names cannabis strains and includes price notes such as « 5 lbs = $5000 ».

Ms Banfield recognized Gabriel Wortman’s handwriting in the notes, but said she had never seen them before. She told investigators she had never seen drugs on their properties and that Gabriel Wortman chose to become a denturist because he thought it would be a good way to make « a lot of money ».

This dispatch was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta Exchanges and The Canadian Press for the news.

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