Toronto– An Indian-origin former Ontario government employee has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing $47.4 million from the provincial government, which included $10.8 million of Covid aid.
Sanjay Madan, who served as an IT Director within the Ministry of Education, pleaded guilty to multiple charges of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering, which he committed by overseeing two complicated schemes to bilk millions of dollars from taxpayers, the Global News reported.
Madan’s lawyer Chris Sewratan said he feels “sorry” for his crimes and is taking “responsibility for everything”.
Madan has agreed to re-pay the entire amount, $30 million of which, his lawyers say was immediately returned to the Ontario government, while the remainder can be repaid over the next 15 years.
His deception came to light during the Covid-19 pandemic when the government set up the support for students fund to give parents a one-time payment of $200 per child to offset the costs of learning from home during the pandemic.
Madan, who had access to the internal processing portal, siphoned off more than 43,000 support payments into 2,841 bank accounts under his name — taking $10.8 million from the fund, according to Global News.
Criminal charges were withdrawn against Madan’s wife Shalini and their two adult sons as part of a plea bargain, which was designed to serve as a signal that he alone bore responsibility for the fraud.
Madan’s lawyer said he pleaded guilty to clear the names of his wife, Shalini Madan, and their two sons whose names were on some of the accounts used to defraud the province.
According to media reports, the Ontario government has successfully obtained an injunction to freeze Madan family’s assets in Canada as well as overseas in India.
Totalling $28 million, those assets include six Toronto condos collectively worth $3 million.
Madan’s whole family was also employed with the Province of Ontario, though his sons have since resigned and wife was dismissed. The probe into the pandemic funds fraud then uncovered a larger nine-year scheme in which Madan received profits to the tune of $36.6 million.
Madan’s lawyer said he apologised to the taxpayers, the Ontario government, his family and colleagues for the crimes.
According to CTV News, after Madan’s release from the prison, he has five years to pay back the remainder — if he doesn’t, he could be re-incarcerated for another six years, his lawyer said. (IANS)