Ontario bureaucrat accused of scamming $11M now accused in alleged $30M fraud

Ontario bureaucrat accused of scamming $11M now accused in alleged $30M fraud

TORONTO — A senior provincial employee alleged to have embezzled at least $11 million from the Ontario government is now accused of kickbacks in an alleged fraud worth at least $30 million, court documents show.

In an amended statement of claim approved on Friday, the province alleges Sanjay Madan received $10 million in secret commissions for steering government consulting contracts to certain companies he or an associate, Vidhan Singh, controlled.

“Over the course of the past 10 years or more, the plaintiff paid out over $25 million pursuant to the resulting (fee for service contracts),” the unproven claim alleges.

The government alleges Singh paid Madan $5 million in commissions, while other companies paid Madan a further $5 million for government contracts.

“Sanjay accepted some or all of the secret commissions in cash and/or caused some or all of the secret commissions to be paid or diverted into accounts controlled by him and/or by his companies.” the document states.

Madan’s lawyer had no immediate comment on the new allegations. Singh could not be immediately reached for comment.

Earlier, a Crown lawyer said the Ontario government had yet to recover the more than $11 million in COVID-19 relief money the province accuses Madan and his relatives of embezzling.

In comments to Superior Court, government lawyer Christopher Wayland said it was wrong to say the money was back in the province’s hands.

“There has been some discussion, not among counsel but elsewhere, to the effect that all of the money that we say has been taken pursuant to the fraud has been ‘repaid into the provincial coffers’,” Wayland told Justice Peter Cavanagh.

“What has happened here is that there’s some significant amount of money that has been frozen and paid into the court. The money being paid into court is not the same thing as paid into the provincial coffers.”

Madan, who had a senior IT role and helped develop a computer application related to the COVID-19 relief benefit, was fired in November. His wife and two adult sons all worked for the province in information technology.

The $11-million civil claim accuses the Madan family and others of illegally issuing and banking cheques under the program that aimed to defray the cost of children learning at home.

Madan’s lawyer, Christopher Du Vernet, has previously said the money had been repaid.

“The province has recovered in excess of the funds it presently alleges Mr. Madan took from the Families Support Program,” Du Vernet has told The Canadian Press.

Du Vernet has also said his client deeply regretted his actions.

According to the lawsuit, Madan, who also goes by Sadanand Madan, and his family opened more than 400 accounts at the Bank of Montreal between April and May. They then deposited around 10,000 cheques made out to fictitious applicants with thousands of non-existent children under the support program.

Madan’s wife and children have said in sworn affidavits they knew nothing of his purported wrongdoing, saying they were victims and that his alleged actions were totally out of character.

Wayland said the courts will eventually have to decide if the money goes into the provincial coffers — as the government argues it should — or if it potentially goes back to the Madans.

Friday’s hearing was to extend a previous freeze on the family’s known assets and to now freeze all assets worldwide — with allowances for their legal and living expenses. Court documents indicate Madan has millions of dollars worth of cash and property.

Court heard the Crown was still actively investigating and was not aware of exactly how much money might have been taken.

“We are certainly not in a position to represent to the court that we can take anyone at their word when they tell us, ‘Don’t worry, everything has been recovered’,” Wayland said.

No criminal charges have been laid in the case.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2021.


Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press