Allegations of massive fraud, other crimes, in Trigger Wholesale civil case

The Canadian firearms industry continues to see weird twists and turns in 2020. First, we had the Order-In-Council prohibition saga. Now, firearms importer/exporter/distributor Trigger Wholesale is tied up in a court case with allegations of more than $48 million in fraud, and other crimes.

If you want to sort through pages of court documents, you can see the details on the case at Grant Thornton’s website. If PDFs full of legalspeak aren’t your thing, you can watch lawyer Ian Runkle’s explanation of the case below. He’s got good insight into what’s in the documents, and what would happen if the allegations are proved in court.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole 51-minute video, here’s a rundown of what’s going on. Basically, Trigger Wholesale borrowed a lot of money, supposedly to buy product. You can find Trigger’s product line, or some of it, at its website. Over the years, Trigger dealt with everything from optics to military surplus firearms and ammunition to some weird high-end stuff from niche manufacturers. Now, all that’s listed on the website is Turkish shotguns. Trigger’s website says it serves “Federally Licenced Dealers, Retailers, Law Enforcement & Military,” with no direct consumer sales.

Now, the lender (ClearFlow Commercial Finance) says Trigger Wholesale borrowed money under false pretenses. Clearflow wants to figure out where the money went. The courts put Trigger Wholesale into temporary receivership while the mess is sorted out, and ClearFlow wants that extended. That way, it has more time to question the people behind the scenes at Trigger Wholesale to get to the bottom of this mess.

Because, the documents allege there’s quite a mess here. The legal paperwork alleges Trigger faked documents to imply it was doing more business than it actually was. It also alleges Trigger forged invoices and letters, even emails from executives at Home Hardware and Canadian Tire, all to appear more busy than it truthfully was. The paperwork also alleges Trigger Wholesale claimed it had real estate assets that it didn’t actually have. The paperwork says this was all done to convince Clearflow to lend Trigger Wholesale more money.

But wait, there’s more! The paperwork goes on to allege there was also some hanky-panky over forged paperwork from Ontario’s CFO. Also, one of the people allegedly behind this situation has a concealed carry permit—how many of those are in circulation in Canada? Why was it issued?

It’s a bizarre case, and maybe unprecedented in Canada. Keep in mind that none of the accusations of fraud are proved in court at this time, though. If you’ve got the time, Ian Runkle’s video above is a very interesting/entertaining deep dive into the paperwork, with commentary on the wild allegations.

What does this mean for average firearms owners?

So there’s a multi-million-dollar legal mess in Ontario. What does that mean for the average shooter in Canada?

At this point, it probably won’t affect shooters, unless they’re looking for warranty work on stuff bought through Trigger. However, don’t expect to be buying newly imported stuff from Trigger Wholesale anytime soon. This mess will take a while to sort through the courts.