Canadian Bankers Association

Canadian Bankers Association

August 22, 2007 10:00 ET

Banking Industry Awards Winnipeg Police Officers' Fight Against Bank Crime

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 22, 2007) –

Attention News Editors:

Cracking an organized bank crime ring and recovering a priceless European jewel may sound like the plot of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but it was reality earlier this year for members of the Winnipeg Police Service, three of whom will be honoured tonight for their dedicated work in combatting crime against Canada's banks. The officers will receive the Canadian Banks' Law Enforcement Award (CBLEA), presented by Nancy Hughes Anthony, President and CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), during a gala ceremony in Calgary as part of the annual Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Conference.

This year's recipients of the CBLEA, all members of the Winnipeg Police Service, are Inspector Tom Legge, Sergeant Larry Levasseur, and Sergeant Mitchell McCormick.

The officers are being recognized for their outstanding work as leaders of a multi-jurisdictional investigation called "Project Kite" that led to the arrest of a crime group operating in western Canada. It is alleged that the group was responsible for committing sophisticated bank break-ins as well as mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, debit card fraud and material goods fraud.

The group's leader is also accused of stealing the Koechert Pearl Diamond, a priceless brooch crafted in 1864 for Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The jewel was stolen during a daring daylight robbery in 1998 from a secure glass case on exhibit at Castle Schonbrunn in Vienna, Austria, and later recovered from a home in Winnipeg.

"The tenacious work of these three officers in the "Project Kite" investigation led to the arrest of a sophisticated crime ring suspected of defrauding financial institutions of millions of dollars," said Ms. Hughes Anthony. "The banking industry is pleased to have the opportunity to thank and honour these exceptional police officers and to express our sincere appreciation for their ongoing efforts in investigating crimes against banks in Canada."

This year's CBLEA presentation marks the 35th anniversary of the awards. Since its creation in 1972, 210 officers from across Canada have been honoured for their outstanding bravery, investigative ability and other noteworthy achievements to combat crimes against Canada's banks. Additional information about the CBLEA can be found at under "About Us".

The Canadian Bankers Association works on behalf of 54 domestic chartered banks, foreign bank subsidiaries and foreign bank branches operating in Canada and their 249,000 employees to advocate for efficient and effective public policies governing banks and to promote an understanding of the banking industry and its importance to Canadians and the Canadian economy.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Bankers Association
    Melanie Minos
    Manager, Media Relations
    (416) 362-6093, ext. 220, Cell: (416) 587-7733