A former Peel Regional Police officer, who spent 40 years with the service, has been found guilty of fraud for his participation in an elaborate story that bilked his brother out of $750,000.
Former Const. Mark Androlia and his girlfriend Beatrice Schikschneit, who was a former civilian clerk for Peel police, were arrested and charged with fraud over $5,000, following an investigation by Peel police.
On Feb. 13, 2020, Schikschneit pleaded guilty to charges, including creating false documents and impersonating retired judge Morris Fish.
Schikschneit was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $597,800 in restitution to Androlia’s brother, who lives in England.
“Peel Regional Police, Internal Affairs Unit conducted this investigation into Cst. Androlia’s fraudulent activities with former employee, Ms. Beatrice Schikschneit. In the course of that investigation, Cst. Androlia resigned from the Service. In May of 2018, he was charged by Peel Regional Police and was found guilty on Feb. 18, 2022,” said Peel police spokesperson Const. Heather Cannon.
“Peel Regional Police takes any allegation of criminality — including fraud and forgery — by its members seriously and investigates such allegations accordingly.”
Androlia and his lawyer were contacted, but did not provide comment.
According to the judgment by Justice Joseph Fragomeni, Schikschneit, through Androlia, told his brother an elaborate story about filing a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the Region of Peel and Peel Regional Police, following Schikschneit departure.
Androlia’s lawyer argued that he was a victim as well, that he did not know she was forging documents and believed what she was saying to be true.
During testimony, Douglas Brown, Peel police’s former director of human resources, said that Schikschneit had been asked to resign and pay $20,000 in restitution after staff found she forged medical documents in an application for disability leave.
According to evidence presented to the court, she and Androlia led his brother to believe a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal had been filed, with Schikschneit creating fake documents, posing as former regional chair Emil Kolb, Bowman, as well as various judges and lawyers.
The court heard Androlia’s brother was sent these documents, asking for advice on how best to proceed, and he wire-transferred money to them to help with their court costs and lost wages.
She told him that she had a trust fund from a late husband, who had been killed in a car crash, that was frozen due to the lawsuit, and that she would pay him back, Justice Fragomeni noted in his decision.
In later years, the pair told him that Schikschneit had cancer and that she did not have medical coverage, according to evidence presented at the trial.
Investigators found that while emails were being sent asking for money to cover a semiprivate hospital room, home oxygen, and other medical costs, Androlia and Schikshcneit had made 13 trips to Las Vegas, according to court documents.
The story continued from April 2008 up to 2017, when Androlia’s brother and his daughter came to visit in Canada, the court heard.
Court documents state that Schikschneit had impersonated Justice Morris Fish. She said the judge was presiding over the wrongful dismissal case, that there had been findings of corruption within the case, and an award ceremony was planned for them, according to evidence noted in the trial decision.
Shortly before the fictitious award ceremony, Androlia’s brother was told it was cancelled, but he still had his flight booked to Canada anyway.
He and his daughter went to the courthouse in Toronto asking to meet with Fish, and the security guard told him that the judge has been retired for years, the court heard.
That’s when they contacted police and an investigation was launched.
Androlia’s case will be back in court on April 11 for submissions on sentencing.
Originally sourced by thestar.com