Several Canada Revenue Agency auditors allegedly sought cash payoffs from Montreal restaurant owners in order to avoid an audit, according to court documents obtained by the Radio-Canada program Enquête.

RCMP are investigating the allegations, which involve four restaurants, including a small family-run Italian eatery in the city’s west end.

The owners of that restaurant told police that they received a visit from an auditor who commented on how busy their business was. Shortly after that, the owners said they received a letter from the Canada Revenue Agency noting their restaurant was about to be audited. They were told to speak with a specific auditor.

The auditor told them they were in serious trouble. He met with the couple in a park near their restaurant and told them they were on the hook for $250,000. He then offered to make the problem go away if they paid him $50,000 in cash.

The restaurant owners asked their accountant for advice and it was soon discovered that the original letter from the agency about the audit was a fake, according to police.

Three other restaurants reported similar experiences. In one case, the son of an owner was told it would take $90,000 to quash an investigation into $700,000 in undeclared income.

Police said all of the restaurant owners have been co-operative. To date, no charges have been laid.

The investigation is not believed to be connected to previous investigations involving Canada Revenue Agency employees in Montreal.

With files from Loreen Pindera