EI fraud totalling $400K alleged in case of New Brunswick fisherman

A New Brunswick fisherman is accused of defrauding the federal government of nearly $400,000 in an alleged employment insurance scheme.

Fisherman accused of selling or transferring records of employment

A New Brunswick man has been charged in connection with an alleged employment insurance fraud totalling nearly $400,000.

The 28-year-old fisherman from Esgenoopetitj First Nation is accused of selling or transferring 33 records of employment between April 15, 2012, and Jan. 27, 2013, RCMP said in a statement.

The alleged scheme resulted in a loss of $398,422 to the federal government through EI benefit payments.

"The investigation revealed that most of the claimants paid the accused for this service," said Staff Sgt. Kevin Lamontagne.

The man appeared in Miramichi provincial court on Monday to face charges of fraud, making false records of employment and selling and/or transferring records of employment. He will return to court at a later date.

RCMP began the investigation in June 2013 when the Federal Operations East Unit received information about a possible EI fraud scheme, said Lamontagne.

Service Canada assisted with the investigation, which included analyzing thousands of pages of documents, he said.

"The RCMP Federal Operations East Unit wants to warn people that acquiring a false record of employment or having false information within the form constitute a fraud against the government of Canada that could result in criminal charges," said Lamontagne.

"These types of fraud have a direct impact on the integrity of the government of Canada and its social programs."