A trial has been delayed for a Sylvan Lake man accused of defrauding 16 investors out of $2.6 million.
Dane Michael Skinner’s trial on charges of fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime was set to begin Wednesday and run for more than three weeks.
However, Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marilyn Slawinsky was told on Tuesday that the Crown prosecutor from specialized prosecutions in Calgary is reviewing medical reports for Skinner, 56, who is undergoing chemotherapy and has become deaf since earlier court appearances. The Crown’s request for an adjournment was granted.
After indicating to a sheriff that he was deaf, a court computer was modified so that Skinner could follow proceedings through closed captions typed in by the court reporter. Skinner did not speak and wrote down his answers to questions from the judge on a legal pad provided by Crown prosecutor Colin Schulhauser.
At one point Skinner indicated he could not attend a proposed October court date because he was getting chemotherapy. Instead, he will return to court on Nov. 1, when the court will hear whether the Crown prosecutor intends to proceed with the charges and set a new trial date.
Skinner was arrested in July 2018 following an RCMP investigation that took almost five years.
Police allege Skinner was claiming to sell a product that made fracking operations at oil wells cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
It is also alleged investors were wrongly led to believe the technology was about to be sold to another company, leading to a financial windfall.
Blackfalds RCMP allege at least 16 people sank money into the scheme and backers lost more than $2.6 million. The offences took place between February 2013 and December 2007.
According to police, the allegations involve two numbered companies (1518869 Alberta Ltd. and 1367158 Alberta Ltd.) and N.E.X.T. Legacy Technologies Ltd.
Skinner is not in custody.