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Preliminary hearing underway for Halifax business man charged with 56 counts of immigration fraud

WATCH: The preliminary hearing got underway Friday, for a Halifax business man accused of exploiting temporary foreign workers and paying well below minimum wage. Marieke Walsh reports.

HALIFAX – A preliminary hearing is underway for a Halifax businessman accused of immigration fraud for allegedly advising foreign workers he hired for his cleaning business to provide misleading and untruthful statements on their work permit applications. He was also charged with providing false statements to the federal government regarding employment conditions for those workers, including their rate of pay.

Hector Mantolino, who owns and operates Mantolino Property Services Ltd., is facing 56 charges of immigration fraud under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The Canadian Border Services Agency alleges that 28 temporary foreign workers were a victim of Mantolino’s offences. CBSA said he paid some cleaners from the Philippines as little as $3.13 an hour and told them to lie about their wages if they wanted to stay in Canada.

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The preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for 3 days, is expecting to hear from 7 witnesses today.

Evidence at today’s hearing is under a publication ban, as the hearing is held to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial.

The charges allege that Mantolino provided false statements to more than one federal government department about the workers’ employment conditions.

The CBSA also alleges that Mantolino created false businesses and submitted fraudulent documents to Service Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Noca Scotia Office of Immigration.

More to come.

– With files from Marieke Walsh and The Canadian Press. 

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