Toronto police say 10 former and current TTC employees as well as a health clinic owner and employee have been charged in connection with a massive benefits fraud investigation.
Officers received a complaint from the TTC and Manulife Financial, the transit agency’s insurer at the time, in January 2015. It was alleged that false claims were being submitted by Healthy Fit, a health care products and service provider that TTC employees frequented. Police charged the owner of the business in July 2015.
Police alleged between 2011 and 2015, the clinic owner and an employee “counselled and conspired” with “numerous” TTC employees who submitted claims totalling more than $5 million to Manulife.
It was alleged that receipts were provided to employees by Healthy Fit for claim reimbursement where no product or service was obtained, or where receipt amounts were inflated. It was also alleged that Healthy Fit and the employee making the claim would then share the money paid out by Manulife.
In a statement released by the TTC Thursday, it said 150 of its employees “have been fired, retired or resigned to avoid dismissal.” It said nine of the workers charged by police are no longer employed by the TTC and a worker still remains with the transit agency, but they’re on medical leave.
The TTC said it’s continuing to interview employees and it “anticipates more employee dismissals as it continues its investigation into this serious matter.”
“Where evidence shows the TTC’s benefits plan was billed inappropriately, employees face dismissal,” the statement said.
“The TTC has insurance to protect itself against financial loss due to benefits fraud. Nevertheless, restitution is being sought from anyone who made an improper claim against the TTC’s benefits plan.”
Meanwhile, police said it’s alleged the clinic owner defrauded the City of Toronto through a similar manner involving “several” City of Toronto employees. A total of $96,000 in claims were submitted to Manulife. The funds were allegedly split between the owner and the City employees.
The following people were or are employed by the TTC and all have been charged with fraud over $5,000:
- Lisa Dixon, 40, of Toronto
- Douglas Docherty, 47, of Bowmanville
- Ahmed Kabba, 58, of Ajax
- Alfred Metri, 51, of Pickering
- Corey Newell, 48, of Toronto
- Glenn Saunders, 51, of Stouffville
- Joao Sousa, 45, of Bradford
- Sohan Virk, 55, of Caledon
- Novella Williams, 32, of Toronto
- Ishmael Yankson, 40, of Brampton
They appeared in Toronto court last week.
Police said Adam Smith, 46, of Mississauga, who is the owner of Health Fit Incorporated, has been charged with two new counts of fraud over $5,000, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence (fraud over $5,000) and laundering the proceeds of crime.
Savath Nget, 32, of Toronto, an employee of Healthy Fit Incorporated, has been charged with fraud over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence (fraud over $5,000).
Officers said these charges are currently before a Toronto court.
With files from The Canadian Press