Crown to give final arguments in fraud trial of former Sipekne’katik finance director June 13

Jeff Hayes, left, arrives at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax with his lawyer, Luke Craggs, for Day 2 of his jury trial on May 17/Photo by Stephen Brake

The crown will present final arguments to the jury in the fraud trial of former Sipekne’katik Finance Director Jeffrey Cecil Hayes in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax June 13.

Crown attorneys Shauna MacDonald and Rick Hartlen finished calling witnesses to the stand Wednesday. Hayes’ lawyer Luke Craggs told the court on Thursday he wouldn’t be calling any witnesses to testify.

Hayes, 61, is charged with theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust for using band funds for personal purposes while he was the Director of Finance for the Sipekne’katik Band. The offences are alleged to have happened between July 22, 2009 and December 31, 2010.

The crown alleges Hayes used Sipekne'katik band funds to purchase this house at 22 Kittiwake Ridge in Halibut Bay, N.S./Photo by Stephen Brake
The crown alleges Hayes used Sipekne’katik band funds to purchase this house at 22 Kittiwake Ridge in Halibut Bay, N.S./Photo by Stephen Brake

Hayes, who lives in Halifax, is also charged with four counts of possession of property obtained through crime. The items include a house at 22 Kittiwake Ridge in Halibut Bay, a 2009 Jeep Liberty, a 2009 Jeep Patriot and a 32-inch Samsung television.

Hayes served as the Director of Finance for the Sipekne’katik Band from January 2009 until he was fired by the chief and council in January 2012.

The trial, which began on May 16, heard testimony from 21 witnesses, which included the current chief of the Sipekne’katik Band, four current band councillors and one former councillor.

Other witnesses who testified included the investigating officer, RCMP Const. Laurie Haines, several accountants who were hired either as co-managers for the band or as auditors, two band employees, one former band employee, two consultants who were hired to do work for the band, former band lawyer Gary Richard and former Loblaws Senior Director Ralph Davidson.

Former band councillor, consultants, auditor testified earlier in the week

Former Sipekne'katik band councillor Ronnie Augustine testified on June 6, 2016 in Jeff Hayes' fraud trial/Photo by Stephen Brake
Former Sipekne’katik band councillor Ronnie Augustine testified on June 6, 2016 in Jeff Hayes’ fraud trial/Photo by Stephen Brake

Former Sipekne’katik band councillor Ronnie Augustine was called to testify on Monday. Augustine, 36, served as band councillor from 2006-2014.

Augustine’s step-father is former chief Jerry F. Sack who also testified in Hayes’ trial.

During his testimony, Augustine refuted claims made by Hayes about him in a statement to police. Hayes’ videotaped statements were played to the jury at the beginning of the trial.

Crown attorney Shauna MacDonald asked Augustine if he was aware that the bank account set up for MRJJ Management Inc. was to hide things from band council, as Hayes suggested in his statement to police.

“No,” Augustine said.

MacDonald also asked him if the MRJJ committee, which was established to develop Wallace Hill in Hammonds Plains, authorized Hayes to change the address for the MRJJ bank account from the band’s mailing address to Hayes’ personal address.

“I’ve never taken part in that conversation,” Augustine replied.

Two consultants, Melanie Raymond and Kerri Oliver, who were both hired by the Sipekne’katik Band, testified Monday they did not receive any payment from Amcrest Management for work they did in 2009.

While on the stand, crown attorney Shauna MacDonald showed both Raymond and Oliver invoices they submitted to the band for work they did. MacDonald then showed them invoices that Amcrest Management submitted to the band for the same work they performed. Both women testified they were not aware of any invoice submitted by Amcrest on their behalf.

Amcrest Management Inc. is a consulting company owned by Hayes.

On Tuesday, chartered accountant Andrew Lenehan testified that he had difficulty getting supporting documentation or explanations from Hayes on transactions of band funds to the MRJJ and Amcrest bank accounts.

According to an agreed statement of facts entered at the beginning of the trial, Hayes had control of two band-owned bank accounts named “Sports” and “MRJJ.”

Lenehan, who was hired by the Sipekne’katik Band to prepare audits in 2010 and 2011, testified that one transaction from a band bank account was for a land purchase for $69,000. Lenehan said Hayes told him the land purchase was for the band’s Wallace Hill Development in Hammonds Plains, N.S.

However, Lenehan said Hayes eventually explained to him he borrowed money from the band purchase the land for himself.


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About Maureen Googoo 174 Articles

Maureen Googoo is an award-winning journalist from Indian Brook First Nation (Sipekne’katik) in Nova Scotia. She has worked in news for 30 years for media outlets such as CBC Radio, the Chronicle-Herald and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Maureen has an arts degree in political science from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, a post-graduate degree in journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.