Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Anatomy of an alleged fraud

  • Print

The trouble

Between 1999 and 2004, Crocus gave Maple Leaf Distillers $8.4 million in loans and guarantees but the money ran out as Crocus started to unravel.

A Free Press investigation in April 2006 revealed that when the Crocus money dried up, David Wolinsky, the former chairman of Maple Leaf, allegedly initiated a cheque-kiting scheme to prop up the troubled company.

 

The alleged scheme

Between 2004 and 2006, Wolinsky allegedly circulated a series of cheques totalling $300 million between Maple Leaf, its holding company Protos International and another Protos investment, Salisbury House Restaurants. The flow of cheques deposited to the accounts of the three companies allowed each company to appear as if it had more money than it did, enabling Wolinsky to increase each firm's line of credit and draw out more funds than had been authorized.

 

The co-charged

Winnipeg police allege that Wolinsky was allowed to carry out his scheme because of the co-operation of a senior Astra Credit Union employee, Clarke Culbertson, the former chief credit officer, and with the co-operation of David Mollins, the former chief financial officer of Protos and Barry Milne, the former chief financial officer at Maple Leaf Distillers.

 

The lawsuit

Astra is facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from a group of investors that lost money when Maple Leaf and Protos went under. Astra -- which has since merged with the Assiniboine Credit Union -- has filed a third-party claim against Culbertson, Wolinsky and his partner, Costas Ataliotis, the former CEO of Maple Leaf.

Astra alleges that Culbertson gave altered credit reports to Astra's senior management and board of directors to conceal the total amount of money owed by Maple Leaf, Protos and Salisbury House.

Astra alleges that Culbertson worked with Wolinsky and Ataliotis to co-ordinate the scheme, advising Maple Leaf managers each morning of the dollar amounts of cheques to be moved between the three company accounts so as not to alert credit union managers about what was going on.

The claim also alleges Culbertson misled Astra's employees, management and board when questions were made about a possible cheque-kiting scheme, and manipulated the credit union's computer system to hide the total amount of credit obtained by the three companies.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 14, 2009 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy says team couldn't get anything going

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you miss Grandma Elm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google