Former MaRS employee facing 11 charges in fraud investigation
Allen Gelberg allegedly defrauded his employer and several service providers of more than $970,000
Thornhill resident Allen Gelberg, 61, allegedly used his position as director of the Collaboration Centre with MaRS to defraud his employer, as well as several service providers, of more than $970,000.
He is also the registered owner of a sole proprietorship known as Rediscover Niagara, police said.
Gelberg was allegedly holding events through MaRS using outside catering, rentals and service staff and tacking on additional fees that were then siphoned through Rediscover Niagara, said Det.-Const. Warren Bulmer.
It's "not clear" what the money was being used for, Bulmer said.
MaRS suspended Gelberg in 2014
More than two years ago, MaRS became aware from an "external source" that the organization might not be getting all the funds from its events and catering, said Karen Greve Young, vice-president of partnerships at MaRS.
MaRS "immediately suspended" Gelberg in November 2014 and he resigned shortly after, meaning no severance was paid.
The organization immediately launched an investigation and later handed the results over to Toronto police, Greve Young told CBC Toronto.
MaRS was unaware of the alleged fraud taking place because none of it passed through the organization's books, she said.
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Alleged diverted fees 'unrelated' to government funding
Greve Young stressed that, while MaRS receives nearly half of its operating funds from the government, the Collaboration Centre event spaces are outside of that — meaning any diverted fees were "completely unrelated" to government funding.
She added Gelberg was paid through income coming out of events held at MaRS.
Gelberg began working at the not-for-profit innovation hub in August 2005, according to his LinkedIn page which is no longer online.
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MaRS is now working with its insurance firm to recover some of the money and has implemented an ethics reporting system "whistleblower line" to avoid similar incidents in the future.
Gelberg is charged with eight counts of fraud over $5,000, defrauding the public over $5,000, possession of the proceeds of crime and laundering proceeds of crime.