Former Vaughan employee, 4 others charged with defrauding city of $2.4M
July 9, 2014
A former Vaughan employee and four others have been charged with defrauding the city of more than $2.4 million over a 13-year period.
It's alleged that fictitious companies were created to bill the city through thousands of purchase orders for work never carried out, York Regional Police's major fraud unit said.
Police charged the five on Tuesday with what they believe were more than 1,000 fraudulent field purchase orders filed with the city, resulting in more than $2.4 million being paid out to fictitious companies.
Detectives began an investigation in December 2013 after they received a report through an internal City of Vaughan audit.
The investigators say an employee with the water, wastewater and drainage department, with the help of family and a friend, set up numerous companies as vendors with the city.
Police said the employee would create and approve fraudulent field purchase orders for services never rendered and the fictitious companies were paid by the City of Vaughan.
“Cases such as these are highly complex and require significant resources,” said Det. Sgt. Dan Corbeil of the York Regional Police major fraud unit. “For the past seven months there has been a team of dedicated officers from our major fraud unit working on this investigation. We would like to thank the mayor, council and the City of Vaughan for taking action and their complete co-operation throughout this lengthy process.”
Vaughan City Manager Barbara Cribbett spoke for the municipality.
“The City of Vaughan takes this matter seriously and will not tolerate acts of fraud. This sends a very strong message that if you break the law, the city will take action. One of the highest priorities for our residents is ensuring the city safeguards public funds.”
Charged with fraud over $5,000, conspiracy to commit fraud and breach of trust by a public official is Benjamin Ciampichini, 57, of Innisfil.
Charged with fraud over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit fraud are Anna Ciampichini, 54, of Innisfil, Vittorio Ciampichini, 59, and Linda Ciampichini, 60, both of Barrie and Michele D’Agostino, 50, of Toronto.
All have been released and are scheduled to appear in Newmarket court Sept. 17.
The investigation is ongoing.
Stay with yorkregion.com for more on this developing story.
Anyone with information can contact the York Regional Police major fraud unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6612, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, leave an anonymous tip online at 1800222tips.com or text your tip to CRIMES (274637) starting with the word YORK.