The mother of a pair of twin sisters in Toronto has pleaded guilty to fraud after her daughters claimed to be Indigenous.

In the summer of 2023, Amira and Nadya Gill were investigated and later charged with fraud after they claimed to have an Inuit status and identity in their education scholarship and bursary applications. 

The sisters faced two counts of fraud over $5,000 for allegedly defrauding two Inuit organizations in Nunavut. Karima Manji, their birth mother, who previously claimed to have been their adopted mother - faced three counts of fraud.

Manji's legal representative, J. Scott Cowan, and Crown prosecutor Sarah White, stated that Manji submitted forms to enrol her children as Inuit beneficiaries in Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI). The twins were unaware of this and their mother's actions, so the charges against them were withdrawn. According to the agreed statement of facts presented in court, the Gill sisters had more than $158,000 in funding between September 2020 and March 2023. An additional $64,413 was on hold for Amira Gill in the spring of 2023 but was unpaid. The funding sums up to more than $220,000.

It is reported that Manji has a criminal record involving fraud. She was sentenced in 2017, for which she received a conditional sentence of two years less a day, followed by one-year probation. A sentencing date for Manji has been scheduled for June 24 at the Nunavut Court of Justice.

“Colonization consisted largely of the theft of our lands and valuable resources, and this kind of identity theft represents a modern-day iteration of those same colonial practices,” said Aluki Kotierk, an Inuk politician, in a statement after charges were withdrawn against the twins.

In a past interview, Kim Beaudin, national vice-chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), said, “We want to ensure that Indigenous students have an opportunity to further their education and get the degree or diploma they need to become part of the community.”