(CNN) – A former worker at the royal Canadian mint in Ottawa has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for stealing gold.
Leston Lawrence worked at the royal Canadian mint for 7 years. Over a four month period beginning in late 2014 he stole 22 pieces of gold, each about the size of an Oreo cookie.
He hid the gold in his rectum in order to pass through the metal detector at the end of his shift.
Even though Lawrence occasionally triggered the detector, his employer never suspected he was stealing gold.
He then laundered the pieces through a gold buyer, using the proceeds to buy a house in Jamaica and a boat in Florida.
It was only after a bank teller alerted police, that he was arrested.
As well as the 30 months sentence, judge peter doody also ordered Lawrence to pay a 190-thousand dollar fine, the street value of the gold that is still missing.
Gary Barnes, Lawrence’s attorney said, “the clock doesn’t start running on that until the end of his sentence which doesn’t mean when he gets out it means the actual end of the 30 months, he then has 3 years in which to pay it and if he doesn’t he’s going to end up serving another 30 months. It’s a pretty good incentive to do everything you can to pay it.”
As a mitigating factor the judge noted that Lawrence’s case had received world-wide publicity – which could make it difficult for him to find work. Lawrence has 30 days to decide if he’ll appeal the sentence.
Barnes continued on saying, “Here we thought there was an argument that they couldn’t prove he had committed the theft because of course, because the mint to this day does not know it lost anything.”
The Royal Canadian mint would comment on the sentence except to say that it has improved its security systems, including upgrading it’s monitors and changing the way it screens employees when they leave.