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2 Edmonton men charged with immigration fraud

WATCH: The Canadian Border Services Agency has laid fraud charges against a former Alberta MLA. Carl Benito is accused of employing illegal immigrants and other offences. Breanna Karstens-Smith explains.

Editor’s note: A news release issued by the CBSA on Tuesday listed incorrect information regarding the charges laid against Charles Benito. This story has been updated to include the correct charges laid against the 25-year-old. 

Two Edmonton men, including a former Tory MLA, have been charged with a number of immigration fraud-related charges following an investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Both men are licensed immigration consultants, the CBSA said in a media release Tuesday morning. Between November 2015 and October 2016, they are alleged to have employed unauthorized foreign nationals at Triple Maple Leaf Canada Corporation, Helping Migrants Canadian Immigration Corporation and World Immigration Group Corporation, according to the CBSA.

The CBSA said the pair counselled temporary foreign workers to apply for student permits, despite the applicants “having no intention of going to school.” This was done in order to extend their status and allow them and their spouses to work in Canada, the CBSA said.

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It’s alleged the men and their associates facilitated short-term cash loans of up to $17,000 for people to meet the financial requirement of the study permit application. These alleged offences took place from November 2015 to June 2018, the CBSA said.

“The CBSA takes this matter very seriously and works closely with our partners, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, to identify, investigate and prosecute those engaging in immigration fraud to profit from vulnerable individuals,” said Andrew Klatt, assistant director of the criminal investigations section with the CBSA.

READ MORE: Man sentenced to 20 months in jail for role in B.C.’s largest immigration fraud case

Carlito (Carl) Benito, 65 of Edmonton, is charged with:

  • Nine counts of unauthorized employment of foreign nations
  • Two counts of counselling/aiding/abetting misrepresentation
  • One count (90 occurrences) of counselling/aiding/abetting misrepresentation related to study permit loan scheme
  • One count of misrepresentation
  • One count of mischief

Benito was the PC MLA for Mill Woods from 2008 to 2012.

Charles Jefferson Benito, 25 of Edmonton, is charged with:

  • Eight counts of unauthorized employment of foreign nations
  • One count of mischief

Both men are scheduled to appear in provincial court in Edmonton on Sept. 5.

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