A former employee of the Royal Canadian Mint has been found guilty of smuggling $165,000 worth of gold from the building in his rectum.
The man, Leston Lawrence “clearly had the opportunity” to steal the gold because he often worked alone and the security cameras would not have caught him slipping gold pucks into his pocket, Ottawa judge Justice Peter Doody ruled on Wednesday morning.
“His locker contained Vaseline and latex gloves, which could have been used to insert a puck into his rectum,” the Judge ruled, adding that there were no cameras in the locker room.
Lawrence set off the mint’s walk-through metal detectors more than any other employee without a metal implant — 28 times between December 2014 and March 2015, court heard. But when a secondary check with handheld detectors failed to alert guards to the gold, Lawrence was able to leave with it each time.
He was found guilty of the theft of 22 gold “pucks” worth $165,000, and laundering 18 of them via Ottawa Gold Buyers. The pucks ranged from 192 to 264 grams in weight. He was also found guilty of possession of property obtained by crime, conveying gold out of the mint, and breach of trust by a public official.
Lawrence was an employee at the mint from July 2008 until March 2015.
In February 2015, Lawrence cashed two cheques from Ottawa Gold Buyers which set off a red flag. One for $7,992.27 and another for $7,269 at the Royal Bank of Canada, he told the teller the cheques were from “gold nuggets” and that he wanted to transfer the money to help his parents rebuild a house in Jamaica. When the teller noticed he worked at the mint, the bank notified the authorities.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) found out that Lawrence sold a 24-karat gold puck to the store for $7,966.27, and had previously sold 17 similar pucks to the store for a grand total of $138,172.46.
The RCMP also seized four gold pucks with a total value of $27,278.84 from his bank safety deposit box on March 11, 2015, the ruling detailed.
Lawrence is expected to be sentenced on Nov. 28.