RCMP charge three former high ranking members of the OPPA

Police corruption is a form of police misconduct designed to obtain financial benefits, other personal gain, or career advancement for officers in exchange for not pursuing, or selectively pursuing, an investigation or arrest. One common form of police corruption is soliciting or accepting bribes in exchange for not reporting organized drug or prostitution rings or other illegal activities. Another example is police officers flouting the police code of conduct in order to secure convictions of suspects — for example, through the use of falsified evidence.

OPP union bosses secretly diverted union money to buy privat

Postby Thomas » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:16 pm

OPP union bosses secretly diverted union money to buy private travel business, fraud trial hears

TORONTO — Three former senior executives of the union representing Ontario Provincial Police officers, along with a Toronto lawyer and a business partner, bought a travel agency and used a consulting firm to hide their scheme to defraud the police union, court heard.

Three police union bosses — James Christie, the president and chief executive officer; Karl Walsh, the chief administrative officer; and Martin Bain, the vice-president and a board of director, at the time — along with Andrew McKay, a lawyer who often represented police officers, and businessman Francis Chantiam bought a travel agency together in 2014, Crown prosecutor David Friesen told the jury on the opening day of the fraud trial.

The union officials secretly used funds from the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) to help pay for their share of the travel firm and then used their senior positions in the police union to give their firm the OPPA’s travel business, Friesen told the jury.

And while the business was operating, “all five accused men worked together to hide or conceal the truth about what they were doing.”

There was one other part owner of the travel agency, court heard. Klara Kozak was brought into the agency to be the public face of the travel firm, the jury heard, and she was called to the stand as the prosecution’s first witness.

Kozak told the jury about a meeting she had with the accused men in the boardroom of the OPPA’s headquarters in Barrie. She arrived with Chantiam in a limousine.

She made a presentation and there were discussions about the travel of the OPPA and potential profit, she said.

“Who was expected to benefit,” Friesen asked her.

“The owners — all the people in the room,” she said and then named each of the accused men.

The jury was told a paper trail shows that Kozak was given only a small share of the company but appeared to own it all by placing the accused men’s shares in trust.

“The idea was that I would be the person running the agency, managing it, and they would be in the background,” she testified.

The trust agreements are private documents, masking the identities of the other owners. The jury was shown an email from Chantiam saying the agreements would “protect you and the boys as trust agreements are not public.”

Kozak said the agency’s business model was built on the company having “a captive market of police officers,” who get a lot of vacation time, and also all of the corporate travel business of the OPPA.

The agency, she said, “had a direct line to the police officers” because a big part of the ownership group were police union executives.

The travel agency ownership was comprised of 196 shares. Under the ownership deal, court heard, Walsh was beneficial owner of 46 of those shares, Chantiam and McKay 40 shares each, and Christie and Bain 26 shares each.

That left 18 shares for Kozak.

After buying the travel agency, Walsh notified the OPPA that the union would no longer use Flight Centre for its travel purchases, and instructed staff to instead book through Kozak at the new agency, branded First Response Travel Group, court heard.

But, Friesen said, the union wasn’t told the new firm was owned by three union bosses.

“I expect the members of the board will testify that this is a conflict of interest, which should have been brought to their attention,” Friesen told jurors in his opening address.

Further, Friesen told the jury, they can expect to hear evidence in the coming weeks that the three union executives used some of the union’s money to help them pay for their personal shares.

Friesen said each of them had $10,000 knocked off what they personally had to pay. That shortfall was made up for, the Crown said, through a contract with PIN Consulting Group, incorporated by McKay.

The OPPA entered into a consulting agreement with PIN Consulting for the union to pay $5,000 each month to PIN for a variety of consulting advice.

Evidence is expected to show that Walsh, Christie and Bain used the OPPA funds paid to PIN to cover a portion of the cost of their shares in the travel company.

Bank records for Christie, Walsh and Bain were shown in court showing withdrawals, each being $10,000 less than the purchase price for their shares. An email was also shown, purportedly from Christie, saying “the plan was predicated” on the association paying PIN the equivalent amount of $30,000.

Another email, purportedly from Walsh, confirmed “we will enter” into the agreement with PIN to provide roughly $30,000 of the required amount to buy the shares.

All five men have pleaded not guilty to fraud over $5,000. The OPPA represents about 10,000 officers and civilians working for the Ontario Provincial Police.

The trail is scheduled to last several weeks.

https://nationalpost.com/news/opp-union ... rial-hears
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Re: RCMP charge three former high ranking members of the OPP

Postby Thomas » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:17 pm

Three Simcoe County residents, who were top officials of the Ontario Provincial Police officers’ union, were among five people who secretly bought a travel agency in a deal partially financed with union funds, and then directed union business to it, a Toronto jury was told Tuesday.

“All five accused men worked together to hide or conceal the truth about what they were doing,” prosecutor David Friesen said during his opening remarks at the Superior Court fraud trial.

The Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) has about 10,000 dues-paying members, including both uniformed police officers and civilian employees. The OPPA uses the money it collects to run its operations, including representing members in collective bargaining.

Friesen said evidence will show that the five men purchased a Kitchener travel company in 2014, and that James Christie of Midland, Karl Walsh of Bradford West Gwillimbury and Martin Bain, formerly of Oro-Medonte, used OPPA funds to help pay for their shares.

Christie was the OPPA’s chief executive officer and president, while Walsh was the union’s chief administrative officer and Bain was a vice-president and member of the board.

Walsh ran unsuccessfully as Liberal candidate in Barrie in the 2011 provincial election.

The three men worked out of the OPPA Barrie headquarters on Ferris Lane, which was raided by the RCMP in March, 2015.

Andy McKay, a lawyer who was often hired by the OPPA to represent its members, and Francis Chantiam, a Waterloo businessperson with travel industry experience, also went in on the deal to buy the Leximco travel agency. It was renamed First Response Travel Group because the intent was to target the leisure travel business of police officers and other first responders, the jury heard.

Walsh then terminated Flight Centre as the OPPA’s corporate travel provider and replaced it with First Response Travel Group, the court was told.

Several OPPA board members are expected to testify the trio did not inform the union’s board about the purchase.

“Karl Walsh, James Christie and Martin Bain did not disclose that they owned part of Leximco/First Response Travel,” Friesen said. “I expect the board members will testify that this ownership was a conflict of interest.”

On two large screens set up in court, jurors were shown a First Response Travel Group advertisement published in “Beyond the Badge,” the OPPA’s magazine.

The Crown’s first witness Sept. 24 was Klara Kozak, a Kitchener businessperson who was hired to run the agency’s day-to-day operations. The agency’s previous owner transferred 196 shares of Leximco to Kozak, but she testified Tuesday that she actually owned only 18 shares and held the rest in trust for the five accused.

Friesen cited an email that Chantiam sent to Walsh on May 21, 2014, which said the arrangement with Kozak would “protect you and the boys as trust agreements are not public.”

During his opening address, Friesen said the alleged fraud also involves PIN Consulting Group, a company owned by McKay that entered into a consulting contract with the OPPA. The agreement required the OPPA to pay $5,000 a month for services including real estate investments and vacation property opportunities.

The evidence will show that Walsh, Christie and Bain used the $5,000 payments from the OPPA to PIN Consulting Group to cover the cost of their shares of Leximco, Friesen said.

The purchase agreement called for each of the five accused to contribute $1,000 per share that they owned. According to the agreement, there were 196 shares in Leximco.

Walsh, Christie and Bain, who owned 98 shares, required a contribution of $98,000, Friesen said, but evidence will show together they contributed only $68,000 of their personal funds.

“You will see evidence in this trial that the remaining $30,000 came from money that the OPPA was paying to PIN Consulting Group Inc. every month,” he said.

OPPA board members are also expected to testify they had no idea that the consulting services agreement signed by McKay and Walsh was being used to provide $30,000 of the $98,000 to pay for those shares, the Crown attorney said.

The trial is expected to hear from nine witnesses over several weeks.

— with files from Rick Vanderlinde

— Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy

https://www.simcoe.com/news-story/96151 ... rown-says/
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Trial begins for former OPP association brass charged with f

Postby Thomas » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:19 pm

Trial begins for former OPP association brass charged with fraud

Crown prosecutors say that the former president, vice president and chief administration officer of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) used their "high ranking positions" to direct travel away from a long-standing travel agency to one of their own.

Speaking in court on Tuesday, Crown Prosecutor David Friesen told the jury that in 2014, five men—including the OPPA members—bought a travel agency and then allegedly directed all OPPA travel to their own business First Response Travel Group. This was done without the knowledge of the OPPA board, Friesen said.

"All five worked together to hide the truth of what they were doing,” he said.

The Crown also alleges former police officer turned defence lawyer Andrew McKay set up a consulting company that was paid $5,000 monthly by the OPPA. The jury heard the money paid to the consulting company helped the three OPPA executives pay for their shares in the new travel agency.

Karl Walsh, James Christie and Martin Bain, Andrew McKay and Francis Chantiam are all facing charges of fraud over $5,000.

The OPPA represents 10,000 OPP officers and civilians on the force.

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/trial-begins ... -1.4608186
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Former Little Current resident goes to trial in OPP union ca

Postby Thomas » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:24 pm

ORILLIA – Jury selection for the trial of former Little Current resident Martin Bain on charges stemming from an RCMP raid on the offices of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) began at the Ontario Superior Court in Orillia on September 17.

Three senior members of the OPPA, Karl Walsh of Bradford West Gwillimbury, James Christie of Midland and Martin Bain of Oro-Medonte (formerly of Little Current) were scheduled to stand trial on September 9, 2019 in Ontario Superior Court in Orillia.

Mr. Bain served as an OPP officer in Little Current for a number of years.

Mr. Christie was OPPA president, while Mr. Bain was vice-president and Mr. Walsh was chief administrative officer when the RCMP, utilizing an affidavit from union whistleblowers to obtain a warrant, searched the Ferris Lane OPPA offices on March 6, 2015. Nearly a year and a half later (June 16, 2016) the RCMP filed charges against the three of theft, breach of trust, fraud and laundering the proceeds of crime. A 2015 filed affidavit lists allegations of suspicious financial transactions including the purchase of a condominium in the Bahamas and a $100,000 wire transfer to the Cayman Islands for a “high risk” investment.

The RCMP allege that a sophisticated network of schemes had been set up involving secretly owned companies and offshore investments to defraud union members.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

The original search warrant was ordered sealed by an Ontario Superior Court judge and details were not available to the public.

All three men resigned from their positions with the OPPA in 2015 following news that the RCMP financial crime and anti-corruption unit had opened an investigation.

The trial is expected to last several weeks and hear upwards of nine witnesses.

https://www.manitoulin.ca/former-little ... nion-case/
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