Canadian Crane Inspector Wanted on Fraud Charges

A Fruitvale, British Columbia, man has been accused of posing as a commercial crane inspector and providing falsified inspection certificates.

Paddy Gene Doherty faces 49 fraud-related charges. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) alleges he forged certification after performing inspections on cranes, forklifts, garage hoists, and other industrial equipment at approximately 27 businesses in 10 Kootenay, B.C., communities between January and June of 2009.

Doherty is accused of defrauding businesses that paid him approximately $40,000CAN ($41,110 US) during that time period. Doherty is also being charged on several counts of "uttering a forged document" for allegedly forging a professional engineer's signature and an engineering certification stamp.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, an RCMP spokesman, said annual inspections are required on certain types of heavy machinery and before a tower or crane can be erected. A crane inspector must be certified by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), and then must submit the inspection report to a professional engineer to review and provide a stamped certificate.

In a written release, Moskaluk said that checks showed that Doherty's CGSB certification had expired on Dec. 31, 2008.

"More alarming than the monetary loss to the businesses is the risk to the public and workers safety, considering that in some of the cases, the re-inspections by a certified inspector failed the equipment that had previously been approved by Doherty," said Moskaluk.

The investigation began in May 2009 after a professional engineer lodged a complaint with police. A warrant has been issued for Doherty's arrest, but police have failed to locate him.