Up to 600 TTC workers may have participated in benefits scam: Auditor General
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, February 26, 2016 12:41PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 26, 2016 4:22PM EST
As many as 600 TTC employees may have submitted fraudulent benefit claims as part of a multi-million dollar scam currently being investigated by Toronto police, a report from the city’s Auditor General says.
In July, police arrested the owner and two employees of a Wilson Heights orthotics business for participating in a scheme, wherein they convinced TTC employees to submit benefits claims for devices that they were never actually provided with.
The scam, which has been blamed for $5.1 million in fraudulent claims, was discovered after the TTC received information about it on its confidential tip line last January.
So far the TTC has dismissed 12 employees who allegedly made fraudulent claims; however that number is expected to rise as the agency continues an internal investigation.
In her annual report on fraud at the City of Toronto that was released on Friday, Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler revealed that the TTC is continuing to investigate 600 other TTC employees who submitted claims to the company in question.
The TTC, however, tells CP24 that not all 600 employees are necessarily guilty of fraud.
“The TTC’s investigation is ongoing, as is the police investigation. While 600 employees used the clinic in question, this does not mean that every employee engaged in improper behavior,” Spokesperson Brad Ross said in a written statement. “As our investigation continues, we dismiss employees where evidence of fraud is clear.”
According to the auditor general’s report, a total of 572 complaints were filed with the city's fraud and waste hotline in 2015. Because many of the complaints contained multiple allegations, the report says that the actual number of fraud allegations was 800.
Of the fraud allegations that were investigated, the report says that 25 per cent were substantiated. Of those discipline was imposed in 25 cases and other action such as increased training was taken in 30 other cases.
The losses associated with the fraud allegations made in 2015 total $209,000.
The loss from the TTC benefits scam is not included in that total. Ross said the TTC will attempt to recover costs from the employees who made the fraudulent claims, from Healthy Fit and/or from their insurance provider, Chubb.
Romeo-Beehler’s report will be considered by the audit committee next week.