8 TTC workers dismissed for falsifying tickets, misconduct
Sandie Benitah, cp24.com
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:24PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 9:12PM EST
The Toronto Transit Commission has fired several employees for allegedly falsifying documents to cover up the fact they weren't doing their work.
Five transit enforcement officers were dismissed from their jobs for falsifying tickets along with three others who are being accused of general misconduct.
Both the TTC and Toronto police confirmed criminal charges against the five suspects, all of whom are charged with attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
The TTC, along with the help of police, started an investigation about four months ago, after they became aware that provincial offences tickets were being given to individuals of no fixed address. The TTC has a policy of not ticketing people who are homeless.
The offences listed on the tickets include panhandling, loitering and trespassing.
“Evidence gathered through the investigation alleges that the officers in question were not at the locations where these falsified tickets were supposed to have been issued,” the TTC said in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.
No fines were ever paid as the people named on the tickets were never served the tickets. The TTC says it will ensure those named on the tickets will be cleared of all charges.
TTC Chair Karen Stintz spoke to reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, explaining the employees' motives behind the scam.
"This was a way of not going to work," she said. "They would show up and they would be in their uniforms but they wouldn't be where they said they were."
Stintz called the suspects' actions a "slap in the face of the crews that come to work every day."
The men all know each other and in some cases, work the same shift. Several hundred tickets were reportedly issued. Stintz said surveillance was used to nab the suspects.
During their investigation, TTC officials came across evidence of misconduct by three other enforcement officers. The nature of their alleged misconduct was not made public.
Those employees were also fired from their jobs.
“While there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the misconduct uncovered resulted today in the TTC terminating, with cause, the employment of those officers,” the news release said.
As a result of these recent arrests and dismissals, the TTC says it will audit the procedures and controls that are currently part of the transit enforcement process. The goal of this audit will be to “enhance or strengthen controls and procedures already in place around the issuing of provincial offences tickets.”
TTC CEO Andy Byford released a statement to the media saying he is “profoundly disappointed” at the turn of events.
“The public should have absolute confidence and trust in all that we do,” he said. “The men and women in uniform who are responsible for the safety and security of our customers must meet a high standard of conduct, and rightly so. When evidence came to light that some had not met that standard, the TTC acted swiftly and decidedly. Integrity, accountability and transparency are critically important to me as the leader of this organization. I want to thank Chief Bill Blair for his assistance in helping us bring this matter to a quick resolution.”
The following suspects have been charged in connection with the criminal investigation:
- Michael Schmidt, a 44-year-old Barrie resident, faces two counts each of attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
- Tony Catic, a 45-year-old Oakville resident, faces two counts each of attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
- John Posthumus, a 44-year-old Toronto resident, faces three counts each of attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
- Jamie Greenbank, a 48-year-old Milton resident, faces one count each of attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
- Neil Malik, a 38-year-old Ajax resident, faces one count each of attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
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