A former federal government employee is facing nearly 100 charges in connection with an alleged scheme to produce and possibly sell fraudulent Canadian passports.
Officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested 50-year-old Aline Rozeline Zeitoune, a former passport processing officer with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), on Thursday at her parents’ home in Toronto. She was to appear in court in Toronto on Friday.
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RCMP investigators began looking into the case in March 2013, when they received a tip from CIC.
"It was alleged that the actions of a former CIC employee resulted in 22 people having been able to fraudulently obtain Canadian passports using false names and other false identification," the police force said in a Friday news release.
The woman faces a total of 97 charges in the case, including one count of breach of trust and multiple charges related to the production and distribution of fraudulent travel documents.
'This is very much an ongoing investigation and the motivation behind the scheme has yet to be determined' –Richard Rollings, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
"We suspect that she may have been involved in this scheme for financial gain," RCMP spokesman Richard Rollings told CBC News on Friday evening. "However, this is very much an ongoing investigation and the motivation behind the scheme has yet to be determined."
Rollings said the accused worked at a passport office in the Greater Toronto Area. He said he wasn’t sure of the exact time frame during which the offences allegedly took place.
CIC officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday evening.
Police have arrested four foreign nationals who are believed to have obtained illegal passports in the case.
Two of those men – a 49-year-old from Jamaica and a 54-year-old from Uruguay – have been deported, Rollings said. A 38-year-old Indian national and a 36-year-old from Israel remain in custody.
The RCMP are searching for additional recipients, Rollings added.
"We’ve been working with our partners in Canada and internationally to look for the other 18 people."