June 6, 2018 (Courtesy of CBC.ca) – A union representing public service professionals across Canada, including economists, statisticians and civilian employees of the RCMP, is trying to figure out how $400,000 was apparently siphoned from its bank accounts over the course of nearly a decade without anyone’s knowledge.
Sources tell CBC News one employee has been fired from the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) in relation to an internal investigation, though the union said several employees were investigated.
I’m shocked. I’m disgusted.– Judy Everson, CAPE member
The union notified Ottawa police more than a year ago about the alleged misappropriation of funds, but never made it public.
That’s outraged some union members who only found out about the fraud investigation from CBC News.
“I’m sure many members don’t know about this,” said Judy Everson, who works at Statistics Canada. “I’m shocked. I’m disgusted. Do I have a trust in the union? Any faith in the union? Respect for the union? I think that’s just gone down the drain for me. Unbelievable. The worst of it is, it’s been going on not for months, but years.”
CAPE president Greg Phillips said the union has been as transparent as it could have been.
“When there are no criminal charges laid, talking about misappropriation of funds … can really blow up into a storm,” he said. “We have to be careful with what we say because everybody’s innocent until proven guilty.”
Tipped off of the fraud in May 2017
In early May 2017, at least one person tipped off the union’s national executive committee about potential financial irregularities, Phillips said.
“Some evidence was brought to our attention. We immediately took action to hire the forensic auditors to look into the matter.”
The union said it also went to Ottawa police around the same time, but police would not confirm an investigation to CBC. No one has been charged in relation to the missing money.
The auditor, Deloitte, pored over CAPE’s financial records and discovered that in 2017 alone more than $60,000 had been electronically transferred out of the union’s main bank account without any supporting documents such as receipts or invoices.
But that was just the beginning; the auditor found more suspicious e-transfers dating back eight years.