03/14/2014 12:22 EDT | Updated 05/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Sneaking repaired classic car into Canada costs man $55K

A Nova Scotia man was fined more than $55,000 for not declaring repairs to a 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu he had fixed in the U.S., then brought back to Canada.

Brian James Wheaton, 50, crossed into Canada at the St. Stephen, N.B., border in September 2013. He claimed he took the car to Maine for repairs, but said he’d decided against the repairs.

Suspicious border guards took a closer look. They found the vehicle was transported across the border at Calais, Maine, moved to Chicago and repaired. It was returned to Calais, where Wheaton took it across the border.

Wheaton was arrested and the vehicle was sent back to the U.S.

Wheaton, who’s from Enfield, spent $137,185 on the car, including $85,000 on parts and services.

Avoided $17,834 in taxes

Wheaton pleaded guilty in St. Stephen provincial court on March 10 and was fined $55,000 in penalties for failure to declare the work done on the vehicle.

Had he done it above board, he would have paid $17,834 in taxes.

“The Canada Border Services Agency reminds all travellers to truthfully declare all goods when entering Canada. It doesn’t pay to try to circumvent these requirements; the risks are just not worth it,” said Debra Thompson of the CBSA.