Maple Syrup Thief Must Pay $9.1 Million Fine, Supreme Court Says


Canada’s highest court has ruled that one of the men behind the infamous 2012 maple syrup theft in Quebec will have to pay a $9.1 million fine.

In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada said Richard Vallières must pay a fine equal to the value of the stolen syrup — not just the profit he made from it.

The Supreme Court says the Quebec Court of Appeal erred in reducing its fine to $1 million.

Vallières was convicted in 2016 of fraud, trafficking and theft of 9,500 barrels of syrup between 2011 and 2012 from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec, the storage site for maple syrup producers. maple from the province.

The stolen syrup was worth more than $18 million, but Vallières testified during his trial that he sold it for $10 million and made a profit of $1 million.

“Distinguishing an offender’s income and expenses in order to determine their profit margin would essentially legitimize criminal activity,” the Supreme Court’s ruling said.

The ruling says the fine must serve a “dual purpose” of depriving Vallières of the proceeds of crime and deterring him and others from committing a similar offense again.

Richard Vallières was found guilty in 2016 of fraud, trafficking and theft of 9,500 barrels of syrup between 2011 and 2012. (Marika Wheeler/CBC)

The Supreme Court reduced Vallières’ $10 million fine by about $830,000, the amount he owed the federation of syrup producers under a separate court order.

Vallières has 10 years to pay the fine, failing which he will serve an additional six years in prison. He is currently serving an eight-year sentence.

The theft of maple syrup was discovered in 2012, during a routine audit of the central warehouse by the federation representing Quebec maple syrup producers. This is the largest theft ever investigated by the Quebec provincial police.