The investigation into benefits fraud at the Toronto Transit Commission has taken yet another turn as police announce new charges involving claims submitted to the City of Toronto.

On Thursday, Toronto police announced new charges against Adam Smith, the 46-year-old owner of orthotics store Healthy Fit Inc. The new charges, which include two counts of fraud over $5,000, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence (fraud over $5,000) and laundering the proceeds of crime, relate to $96,000 worth of claims submitted by City of Toronto employees to Manulife Financial Corp. Police have also charged an employee of Healthy Fit, 32-year-old Savath Nget, with fraud of $5,000 and conspiracy to commit an offence.

Read: 100 TTC employees fired or resigned over benefits fraud investigation

According to police, the City of Toronto claims involved a scenario similar to a large benefits fraud case playing out at the TTC since 2014. In that case, police allege Smith, of Mississauga, Ont., and Nget, of Toronto, conspired with a large number of TTC employees who submitted more than $5 million in claims to Manulife. In a news release, police allege Smith and Nget provided some or none of the products claimed and split the insurance payments with the customers. Police had earlier charged the pair in the TTC case and began investigating the City of Toronto matter after Manulife reported a similar complaint in November 2016.

Read: Toronto councillors question benefits loopholes flagged by auditor general

Besides the developments involving the City of Toronto, police announced on Thursday they had laid a charge of fraud over $5,000 against 10 TTC employees:

1. Lisa Dixon, 40, of Toronto 
2. Douglas Docherty, 47, of Bowmanville, Ont. 
3. Ahmed Kabba, 58, of Ajax, Ont.
4. Alfred Metri, 51, of Pickering, Ont.
5. Corey Newell, 48, of Toronto 
6. Glenn Saunders, 51, of Stouffville, Ont.
7. Joao Sousa, 45, of Bradford, Ont.
8. Sohan Virk, 55, of Caledon, Ont.
9. Novella Williams, 32, of Toronto 
10. Ishmael Yankson, 40, of Brampton, Ont.

The case, however, goes well beyond the 10 people charged. “To date, 150 employees have been fired, retired or resigned to avoid dismissal. Of the 10 facing charges, nine are former TTC employees and one remains an employee on medical leave,” the TTC said in a statement on Thursday.

The TTC cited reduced fraud for a $5-million reduction in its benefits claims in 2016 over the prior year. The organization says it expects more dismissals as it continues its investigation.

Read: ‘Sigh of relief’ as university professor’s firing for benefits fraud upheld

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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