Sabrina Maddeaux: Organized criminals defrauded taxpayers — and the Liberals don’t seem to care

Is there anything left in Canada that remains unsullied by organized crime? Increasingly, the answer points to no. In recent weeks, there have been a series of reports about organized crime’s impact on everything from spiralling real estate costs to the country’s growing drug problem and even tractor theft . Now, a newly released Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) report reveals that the government has no idea how much pandemic support money went to criminal elements. According to the 2020 report , which was released under an access to information request, organized criminals “knowingly and actively” defrauded the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program. They would file multiple CERB applications using stolen identities, then “hire groups of individuals to cash the benefit cheques at various locations around town.” They would also transfer the $40,000 CEBA loans intended for ailing businesses to personal accounts and withdraw the cash. The fraudulently obtained benefits would then sometimes be mixed in with laundered money to obscure the real source of the funds.

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