Banking Industry Awards Winnipeg Police Officers' Fight Against Bank Crime

    CALGARY, Aug. 22 /CNW/ - 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.

For further information:

For further information: Melanie Minos, Canadian Bankers Association,
Tel: (416) 362-6093, ext. 220, Cell: (416) 587-7733, E-mail:

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