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Saskatoon to recover all $1.04M lost to scammer after Ontario court ruling
Saskatoon's City Hall is pictured on March 22, 2017. (Jim Barnsley/CTV Saskatoon)
SASKATOON -- The City of Saskatoon will recover all $1.04 million lost in a fraud scheme in August, the city announced Friday.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael A. Penny ordered the return of the remaining $335,000, according to a news release.
“This is exactly the outcome we have wanted for the past three months,” city manager Jeff Jorgenson said in a news release.
“We are grateful to the Court and for the efforts made by many people and organizations to recover this stolen money.”
In August, a fraudster stole the identity of the chief financial officer of Allan Construction, a company the city works with.
The scammer then contacted the city, asking to change the company’s banking information. The $1.04-million payment from the city then went to the fraudster's account, rather than the company's.
Since then, the city had been able to recover much of the stolen money. The remainder had been the subject of court hearings in Toronto, where three parties claimed they had been unwitting victims of the fraud scheme, the city says.
Penny found none of the remaining defendants provided enough evidence to require a trial. He also awarded the city $25,000 in court costs, the city says.
Each defendant has 30 days to appeal. Until then the money will be held in trust by the city’s lawyers.
The city is finalizing the costs of the recovery and has already installed tighter accounting measures at City Hall, Jorgenson said in the release.
“The finance team has worked closely with our internal auditors to implement appropriate controls that are now in place to help ensure that nothing like this happens again.”
An update report on the full cost of the recovery and findings of the root cause investigation will be provided to City Council before year-end, he said.