No bail for Pigeon King pending sentencing: report

Ontario’s Pigeon King will remain caged on his fraud conviction leading up to a sentencing hearing, now expected in March, according to regional media.

Cambridge, Ont.-based ag magazine Better Farming reported last week from Ontario Superior Court in Kitchener that Justice Gerry Taylor ordered Galbraith back into custody without bail pending sentencing.

That sentencing hearing, previously expected sometime next month, is now booked for March 4, the magazine reported Thursday.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Record last week quoted Crown prosecutors as saying they would seek a nine-year prison term for Galbraith, 66.

Galbraith was arrested in December 2010 on charges that he defrauded hundreds of Canadian and U.S. farmers between 2004 and his Pigeon King International (PKI) company’s bankruptcy in 2008.

RCMP and Waterloo Regional Police at that time estimated about 1,000 people invested about $20 million to buy breeding pairs of pigeons, while “allegedly being promised guaranteed financial returns.”

U.S. authorities and Ontario farm media had been publicly sounding alarm bells over the plan’s viability as early as 2007, warning it had the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme.

Bankruptcy documents for PKI from June 2008 show about $23.5 million owing to the company’s unsecured creditors in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and in 18 states across the U.S.

The documents on file with BDO Dunwoody show creditors out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each, either for birds produced or for “barn rentals.”

Among all PKI’s unsecured Canadian creditors, producers and unpaid vendors, the largest amount listed was $1.5 million, owed to an Alberta Hutterite colony. — Network

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