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Former government employee pleads guilty to stealing $47.4-million from Ontario

Queen’s Park is shown in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. A former bureaucrat accused of embezzling public funds has pleaded guilty to stealing $47 million from the Ontario government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn Queen’s Park is shown in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 20, 2023. A former bureaucrat accused of embezzling public funds has pleaded guilty to stealing $47 million from the Ontario government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
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A former Ontario government employee has pleaded guilty to defrauding the province of more than $47 million and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Sanjay Madan, who held a senior role as an IT director within the Ministry of Education, has “accepted responsibility” for two sets of fraud schemes he committed while he worked for the province. Madan had developed a COVID-19 relief benefit during his tenure, and later, he and his family were accused of allegedly illegally banking cheques that were meant for the beneficiaries.

According to his defense attorney, Chris Sewrattan, part of his motivation for pleading guilty was to clear the names of his wife, Shalini Madan, and his two sons whose names were on some of the accounts used to defraud the province.

“So, Mr. Madan at the sentencing was – in taking responsibility – trying to drive home the point that it was him, and not his family, and that’s why it is he who is going to jail and why it is his wife who is having all charges withdrawn, and why his sons have not been charged at all,” he said.

A civil claim filed by the province in the fall of 2020 alleged that Madan’s family “exploited their positions of employment with Ontario and unique access to the (Support for Families Program) and payment processing system.”

In 2021, Madan was one of two people criminally charged by Ontario Provincial Police after the government alleged he defrauded them of at least $11 million and accepted at least $30 million in kickbacks.

Maher Abdurahman, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, confirmed to CTV News Toronto that Madan has been charged with two counts of fraud, two counts of breach of trust, one count of money laundering and one count of possession of property obtained by crime.

On top of a decade-long prison sentence, Madan is facing a restitution order of about $47.4 million, including the $10.8 million defrauded from the Support for Families Program (SFFP) that aimed to cover the costs of children learning at home at the height of the pandemic.

Of the total amount, Madan has already repaid $30 million of the stolen money and assets back to the Ontario government, Sewrattan told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday afternoon.

As soon as Madan is released from prison, Sewrattan says he has five years to pay back the remainder – if he doesn’t, he could be re-incarcerated for another six years.

Madan is currently feeling a “mix of emotions” following the sentencing, Sewrattan noted Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s obviously daunted at what lies ahead of him in prison, but he is also grateful that he had the chance to – in a sense – put this behind them.”

With files from The Canadian Press 

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