(Scroll to bottom for links to past coverage.)
COCHRANE, Ont. — A Canadian man accused of creating a Ponzi scheme to farmers in both Canada and the United States is now facing charges of fraud and bankruptcy law violations in Canada.
Arlan Galbraith, 52, of Cochrane, Ontario, owner of Pigeon King International, was arrested and charged with one count of fraud over $5,000 and four counts under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Kitchener Detachment Commercial Crime Section and the Waterloo Regional Police Service Fraud Branch, an investigation they conducted resulted in the allegations of fraudulent activities and resulted in Galbraith’s arrest.
The Farm and Dairy initially brought readers the story of the Pigeon King and the alleged scheme that involved selling pigeons to farmers for breeding and raising.
The scheme involved renting barns and farmers purchasing the birds to be marketed as squab. The scheme involved farmers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Kansas, as well as in Canada.
Police claim a total of $1 million was bilked out of people in Canada and the United States between 2004 and 2008.
Estimates show that about 1,000 people invested a total of $20 million in the purchase of pigeons into the scheme.
When Galbraith filed bankruptcy in June 2008, he revealed debts of more than $23.5 million to breeders and vendors across the U.S. and Canada. He also owed over $2.8 million to owners of barns he rented across the U.S. and Canada. There were a total of 24 U.S. operators renting barn space including four in Ohio and six in Pennsylvania.
Galbraith had promised investors that the pigeons were to be sold in pairs to farmers for breeding as part of a plan to ultimately produce pigeon meat.
He also owed money to a total of 49 Ohio breeders and 85 in Pennsylvania.
Galbraith appeared for a bail hearing Dec. 1 and was released. Another court date is set for Jan. 25, 2011.
The Farm and Dairy is working to uncover more details of the criminal investigation in the Canadian court system.
Pigeon King International: Breeders struggle to get rid of pigeons (7/10/2008)
Pigeon King owes $23 million (7/10/2008)
Bankruptcy filing says Pigeon King owed $23 million (7/3/2008)
UPDATED: Pigeon King goes bankrupt (6/26/2008)
Pigeon King International bankrupt (6/19/2008)
Pigeon King gets wings clipped in Maryland (6/12/2008)
Washington finalizes cease and desist order against Pigeon King International (5/15/2008)
Washington takes action against Pigeon King International (5/1/2008)
Pigeons point to Ponzi scheme (3/13/2008)
Pigeon idea may not fly: Iowa investigating company for scheme (2/21/2008)
You’re raising what? Pigeons! (9/13/2007)