Toronto

5 people charged in alleged conviction-erasing scam

Four paralegals working in the Toronto area and one former city clerk are facing charges in an alleged scheme that removed convictions for traffic tickets.

4 paralegals in Toronto and 1 former city clerk set to appear in court on May 27

The city says it took remedial action to reinstate all deleted tickets and notified those who were convicted that all offences still stand. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Four paralegals working in the Toronto area and one former city clerk are facing charges in an alleged scheme that removed convictions for traffic tickets.

All four of the accused are charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, breach of trust, obstruction of justice, fraud over $5,000 and uttering forged documents.

A City of Toronto court clerk was also charged in February in connection with the same allegations.

Anonymous tip led to investigation

In 2018, court services staff received an anonymous tip about an employee who was allegedly deleting convictions and making things disappear from the court system through the computer network, said city spokesperson Brad Ross.

"A comprehensive investigation was launched between April and October of 2018 and we found instances of about 137 cases where there was alleged misconduct by the employee," Ross told CBC Toronto Wednesday. 

The city says the situation involved one individual who was familiar enough with system and figured out ways to get around the daily audit controls. 

The city fired that employee last fall.

In the months following the investigation, the city says steps have been taken to improve the computer systems.

'We have worked with the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Auditor General of Toronto to take some steps to strengthen those audit controls as best we can to ensure that that there is no recurrence," said Ross. 

Deleted tickets reinstated

The city says it took remedial action to reinstate all deleted tickets and notified those who were convicted that all offences still stand. 

The accused are alleged to have wiped approximately $30,000 in fines.

Those fines are now back in the city's computer system.

All five accused are expected to appear in court on May 27.