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RCMP charge 3 Ottawa police officers in connection with alleged tow truck tip-off scheme

Three members of the Ottawa Police Service have been charged in connection with an RCMP investigation. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

The RCMP has charged three members of the Ottawa Police Service alongside three other Ottawa residents in relation to an alleged scheme to tip off tow truck services when officers received word of a crash.

Three Ottawa police constables — 44-year-old Hussein Assaad, 32-year-old Kevin Putinski and 38-year-old Andrew Chronopoulos — have been charged following a 10-month investigation by the RCMP’s anti-corruption unit.

READ MORE: 3 charged after officers seize loaded handgun in traffic stop — Ottawa police

Also charged are three Ottawa residents: 33-year-old Jason Ishraki, his mother, 56-year-old Veronika Ishraki, and 49-year-old Marwan Sablani.

The Ottawa Police Service first contacted the RCMP in July 2019 to request an investigation into allegations of a possible breach of trust.

The RCMP now alleges that the three officers in question were acting in concert with the aforementioned residents to alert particular operators in Ottawa’s tow truck industry about vehicle collisions when they occurred in exchange for a fee.

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Charges against the officers, listed in full below, include breach of trust, conspiracy to commit break-and-enter and theft, fraud and allowing access to confidential police databases.

All six individuals were arrested in relation to the investigation.

READ MORE: Ottawa police probe possible drive-by shooting; young man suffers minor injuries

Assaad, Sablani and Jason Ishraki are currently being held pending bail hearings. The others have been released to appear in Ottawa court at a later date.

The RCMP has obtained five warrants to search Ottawa residences as well as a “narrowly defined” search of Ottawa police’s workplace.

The RCMP’s criminal investigation remains ongoing. None of the charges have been proven in court.

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said in a statement Thursday that he was briefed about the investigation on the day he took office in October of last year.

Sloly called the charges “very serious” but added that they “do not reflect the overall integrity of OPS members.”

“These allegations against three of our members will likely shake the trust and confidence that OPS members have worked long and hard to earn with the public. Every member of the OPS will be troubled by this news as we hold our oath of office and our organization’s values in the highest regard,” Sloly said.

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In relation to Thursday’s charges and in an effort to raise ethical standards in the police service, Sloly also announced the creation of a “respect, ethics and values” unit as well as new staff sergeant major and corps sergeant major roles tasked with improving professionalism within the Ottawa Police Service.

A full list of the charges released Thursday are below:

Const. Hussein Assaad (44):

  • Breach of trust
  • Secret commissions
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Providing unauthorized access to confidential police databases
  • Conspiracy to commit break-and-enter and theft

Const. Kevin Putinski (32):

  • Breach of trust
  • Secret commissions
  • Fraud under $5,000

Const. Andrew Chronopoulos (38):

  • Breach of trust
  • Secret commissions

Jason Ishraki (33):

  • Secret commissions
  • Fraud under $5,000
  • Obtaining access to confidential police databases

Veronika Ishraki (56):

  • Secret commissions

Marwan Sablani (49):

  • Conspiracy to commit break-and-enter and theft

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