Canada

Quebec maple syrup heist: Top court to hear sentence appeal

The theft of the syrup made international headlines and saw the Sûreté du Québec launch an investigation that involved 100 officers.

Snow falls as a maple syrup sap bucket hangs from a maple tree Wednesday March 5, 2014 in Canterbury, N.H. The annual sugaring sesason is still waiting for warmer temperatures to start the season as Northern New England is seeing below average temperatures and is expected to drop below zero overnight.

Canada’s highest court has consented to hear an appeal concerning a sentencing in the theft eight years ago of $18 million worth of maple syrup.

The court will hear arguments from Quebec’s office of criminal prosecutions challenging a decision by the Quebec Court of Appeal to revise the amount of a fine that Richard Vallières, one of the thieves, was ordered to pay.

Vallières was convicted of fraud as well as the trafficking and theft of 9,500 barrels of maple syrup between 2011 and 2012 from the warehouse of the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles in St-Louis-de-Blandford.

A Quebec Superior Court ordered Vallières to pay nearly $10 million in fines over 10 years. However, the Quebec Court of Appeal later reduced that amount to $1 million.

The Supreme Court will rule on whether the Court of Appeal erred in that judgment.

The theft of the syrup made international headlines and saw the Sûreté du Québec launch an investigation that spanned three provinces and the northeastern United States.

About 100 officers were deployed in the operation, which ended with more than 20 people being arrested. Three, including Vallières, were found guilty in the case.Vallières received an eight-year prison sentence in 2017, but was warned that sentence would be extended if he did not pay the accompanying fine.

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