Ten Toronto Transit Commission employees have been charged in relation to a multi-million dollar benefits fraud scam, Toronto police say.
The charges come after the transit agency and Manulife Insurance filed a complaint in January 2015 alleging false medical claims were being submitted through Healthy Fit, a business that provides orthotics, braces and other medical devices.
Police allege the owner and an employee of Healthy Fit, operating in Mississauga and Toronto between November 30, 2011 and July 21, 2015 "counselled and conspired with" multiple TTC employees, who submitted over $5 million in claims to Manulife.
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In some cases, invoices were filed for no products at all and the insurance payments were split with customers, police said in a release issued Thursday.
Police further allege the same owner defrauded the city with several city employees submitting about $96,000 in false claims to Manulife.
The owner of Healthy Fit now faces multiple charges: two counts of fraud over $5,000, conspiracy to commit the indictable offence of fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.
An employee at the business is charged with fraud over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit the indictable offence of fraud over $5,000.
The ten TTC employees charged appeared in court last week.
In a statement to CBC Toronto, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said the commission took immediate action to investigate when it became aware of the issue. Since the investigation began in 2015, Ross said, 150 employees have been fired, have resigned or have retired to avoid dismissal.
"The public trust in the TTC is critical to its success — and that includes being accountable and transparent in all that we do. The vast majority of our employees, of course, would never dream of defrauding our benefits plan, putting it at risk for everyone else. Those that do will be held to account," Ross said.
He added that in 2016, the agency saw a reduction in benefits-claims costs of almost $5 million in 2015, which he said reflects the TTC's success in bringing an end to improper claims or fraud.