$1.2 million in stuffed exotic animal losses has Uxbridge, Ontario taxidermist up on fraud charges

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Published April 3, 2024 at 11:43 am

stuffed tigers

Stuffed Lions and Tigers and monkeys, oh my.

An Uxbridge taxidermist who specializes in exotic animals is up on fraud charges after claiming two refrigeration system failures resulted in a loss of more than $1.2 million in ruined specimens.

An investigation into insurance fraud by Durham Police’s Financial Crimes Unit also discovered the accused had fraudulently produced purchase invoices, created fictitious zoos and safari, and inflated the value of the dead animals, police said.

Cyril Dsouza, the 65-year-old owner of Artistry in Motion Taxidermy in Uxbridge, claimed his business was “no longer viable” due to the faulty refrigeration system.

Investigators were contacted by an insurance company September 11 regarding multiple claims filed by Artistry in Motion Taxidermy that were believed to be fraudulent. The owner of the business purchased exotic animals such as tigers, lions and monkeys after they died of natural causes for use as ‘art’ pieces.

In May 2022 the owner made a claim to the insurance company for a weather-related failure of his refrigeration system, which he claimed resulted in a financial loss of more than $500,000.

In June 2023 the owner made a second insurance claim for another refrigeration system failure, this time resulting in a $700,000-plus financial hit.

Inquiries by police into zoos, ranches and safaris both in Canada and in Africa named by the suspect led to Dsouza being charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of uttering forged documents.

He was released on an Undertaking.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact D/Cst. Tisi of the Financial Crimes Unit at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5729. Anonymous information can be sent to Durham Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca.

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