Ontario taxidermist charged in $1.2M fraud, blamed faulty fridge for unviable dead exotic animals

A taxidermist from Ontario is facing fraud charges of over $1.2 million after investigators determined he allegedly submitted multiple claims that a faulty refrigeration system ruined the authenticity of his dead exotic animals.

Durham Regional Police were first contacted on Sept. 11, 2023, by an insurance company regarding multiple claims filed by Artistry in Motion Taxidermy, located in Uxbridge, Ont.

Officers said the business owner purchased dead exotic animals, such as tigers, lions and monkeys, after they died of natural causes to use as art pieces.

It’s alleged that in May 2022, the same business owner made a claim to an insurance company for what police described as a “weather-related failure” of his refrigeration system, which he argued resulted in a financial loss of over $500,000 of dead animals.

Just over a year later, police said the owner submitted another insurance claim for a second refrigeration system issue, this time seeking $700,000.

According to police, an investigation into zoos, ranches, and safaris across Canada and in Africa, named by the suspect, revealed that the business owner had fraudulently produced purchase invoices, created fictitious zoos and safaris, and inflated the value of the deceased animals.

On Wednesday, police identified the suspect as 65-year-old Cyril D’Souza of Uxbridge, Ont.

He’s facing two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of uttering forged documents. He was released on an undertaking.

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