Three arrests in alleged $1.6-million fraud at York University
Toronto police said Thursday that three people are allegedly involved in the 'misappropriation of funds from York University, in a fraudulent billing scheme,' between November 2005 and October 2012. (Facebook)
Daniel Bitonti, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, March 20, 2014 2:41PM EDT
Police have arrested three people in relation to a fraud that saw York University lose more than $1.6 million over a seven-year span.
Toronto police said in a statement Thursday that three people are allegedly involved in the "misappropriation of funds from York University, in a fraudulent billing scheme,” between November 2005 and October 2012.
Vittoria Caparello, 51, of Vaughan, Ont., was charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000. Yossi Zaidfeld, 38, of Vaughan, was charged with one count of fraud over $5,000. Melissa Caparello, 27, also of Vaughan, was charged with possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000.
Vittoria Caparello appeared in court on Wednesday while both Zaidfeld and Melissa Caparello are scheduled to appear in a downtown Toronto courtroom on April, 28.
A York University spokesperson said that Vittoria Caparello had most recently held the position of business manager in the division of continuing education for the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She had been employed at the school for more than 27 years, leaving on Nov. 3, 2012.
Zaidfeld most recently held the position of manager of operations in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies’ eServices office. He had been employed at York from Sept 21, 1997 to July 5, 2013.
Melissa Caparello was working as an administrative assistant in the Faculty of Environmental Studies up until her arrest. The school spokesperson said Caparello is still employed by York, and "the university is reviewing the matter and will take such action as is appropriate.”
Police said the investigation is ongoing, and further arrests and charges are anticipated.
York University Secretary and General Counsel Harriet Lewis said in a statement Thursday that the school became aware of the alleged fraud in October 2012 "when a whistleblower came forward with information about suspicious activity.”
The statement said the university immediately contacted police, adding that York has recovered the money it was defrauded, which totalled $1,603,529.
"York University takes its fiduciary responsibilities very seriously as an institution entrusted with monies from our students and the public," the statement said.
The school spokesperson said she could not provide details of the alleged fraud scheme because police are still investigating.