5 charged in Ontario COVID relief funds fraud: police

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Five people have been charged after they allegedly applied for Ontario COVID relief funding using “fictitious or ineligible businesses,” police say.

Ontario Provincial Police announced the charges against four Ajax residents and one Ottawa resident Monday after a “lengthy investigation” involving the Serious Fraud Office for Ontario (SFO).

Police said that the Ministry of Finance deemed applications for COVID-related relief funding from five individuals suspicious and referred them to the SFO.

“The accused parties are alleged to have applied for various relief funding from the government through fictitious or ineligible businesses to receive payments into their bank accounts,” police said.

The programs they allegedly exploited were the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, the Property Tax Program and the Energy Cost Rebate program.

Five individuals now face criminal charges.

Police said the Ottawa resident who was charged has failed to appear in court on multiple occasions and as a result, an arrest warrant has been issued.

Meanwhile, the Ajax residents charged have been released from custody and are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10.

This article was originally sourced from www.msn.com