The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) warns the public that if you claim the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), you need to actually have children to make the claim unless you want to spend time behind bars.
The CCB is a tax-free monthly payment that pays up to $569.41 per month to assist parents with the cost of raising a child.
Two Canadians will be going to jail or in home confinement for two years and will have to repay over $100,000 each for fraudulently claiming child benefits for a combined 22 fake children for years before being caught by the tax agency.
In September, Cornwall, Ont., resident, Patrick Paquette, was sentenced to 22 months of house arrest followed by a curfew after pleading guilty to one count of fraud related to significant CCB fraud.
Paquette used CRA’s online portal to create profiles for eight fictitious children in order to claim $122,534 in CCB payments over three years beginning in 2013, according to a release by the agency.
In Nov. 2016, Paquette’s bank suddenly closed his account in which the funds were being sent via direct deposit.
Tax cheating is a crime
Paquette opened a new bank account in his partners name and then applied for CCB on behalf of her, for two additional fake children for five months in 2017. Paquette’s partner was not aware of any of these actions. This fake account allowed him to withdraw an additional $8,223 in illegally acquired funds.
In September, Paquette was ordered to repay the $130,757 in ineligible CCB. He has also been sentenced to serve 11 months in home confinement followed by 11 months of curfew. After, he’s subject to another three years of probation.
The tax agency did not reveal how Paquette managed to claim CCB for no less than 10 fictitious children for over three years before getting caught.
The CRA warned that “tax cheating is a crime. Falsifying records and claims, willfully not reporting income, or inflating expenses can lead to criminal charges, prosecution, jail time, and a criminal record.”
Then last week, Montreal resident, Guerly Estimé, pleaded guilty to a similar but separate scheme in which he defrauded over $144,000 in government funds by claiming CCB for 12 fictitious children for over 11 years, according to a CRA statement.
Estimé was charged for making false statements and forgery and the judge sentenced Estimé to a conditional sentence of two years minus one day followed by three years of probation. He will also have to reimburse the total $144,821 that he obtained illegally.
The CRA warned Canadians against trying to fraudulently claim any federal government benefit, particularly with the new aid program for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CRA is continuously working towards making sure that individuals and businesses report income earned and eligible losses, and claim benefits to which they are entitled, so that important benefit programs can be administered to those who need them,” the agency said. “As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing the increased importance of these benefits, and are working to make sure that they continue to be available to Canadians.
“Any individual or business who underreports income, or claims losses or benefits to which they are not entitled, including ineligible claims for COVID-19 benefits, may have to repay the benefit amounts and may be subject to other possible action.”
Two weeks ago, it was released that the Competition Bureau of Canada was investigating tax refund firm Canada Tax Reviews for suspected “false”, “deceptive” and “misleading” advertising of its services offering
The Bureau’s investigators say they suspect that Canada Tax Reviews “has made and continues to make misleading claims” on its websites that lead Canadians to believe they are applying for COVID-19 benefits directly with the Government of Canada when its in fact through the company.
“Complainants reported believing that this link, which is actually an ad of (CTR’s), was the link to apply directly for Covid Relief Benefits with the government entity administering such benefits,” reads an affidavit from a Bureau investigator. The affidavit also said that they would not have used CTR’s services if they had known.
The company denies wrongdoing and said it will “vigorously” defend itself against the charges.
This article was originally sourced by canada.com.