Judge rules family linked to alleged $11M COVID-19 fraud can access more funds for legal defence

News Sep 16, 2021 by Robert Benzie Queen's Park Bureau Chief

In a setback for Premier Doug Ford’s government, an Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled the family linked to the alleged theft of $11 million in pandemic aid can access more legal defence funds.

By dismissing another Crown bid to limit the Madan family’s spending, Justice Peter Cavanagh has opened the door to their lawyers dramatically expanding the scope of the case.

“I decline to make the order requested by (the government) on this motion at this time,” wrote Cavanagh in a decision released Wednesday.

Court documents allege “some or all of” Sanjay Madan, his wife, Shalini, their adult sons Chinmaya and Ujjawal, and associate Vidhan Singh perpetrated “a massive fraud” to direct COVID-19 relief funds to numerous bank accounts at branches of TD Bank, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, Tangerine, and India’s ICICI Bank.

The province’s allegations against the Madans and Singh have not been proven in court. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating and no criminal charges have been laid.

Sanjay Madan was fired last November from a $176,608-a-year post as the Ministry of Education’s information technology leader on the Support for Families program, which gave per-child pandemic payments of $200 and $250.

In civil court testimony, which cannot be used against him in any potential criminal action, he’s acknowledged he “relaxed” computer security so more payouts could be made to the same bank accounts.

Shalini Madan, who is separating from her husband, was terminated last fall from her $132,513-a-year job as a Ministry of Government and Consumer Services computer manager. She’s suing Queen’s Park for wrongful dismissal.

Their sons, Chinmaya and Ujjawal Madan, voluntarily resigned from lower-level provincial IT jobs last year.

Shalini, Chinmaya and Ujjawal Madan have denied doing anything wrong, as has Singh.

The Crown alleges Sanjay Madan also masterminded a broader “conspiracy” that predated the pandemic, which saw millions in “secret commissions” paid in exchange for hiring favoured contractors and subcontractors on government computer projects.

In January, Sanjay Madan testified he and Singh and four other associates — not his wife and sons — were involved in a business that hired Ministry of Education IT consultants. Singh has denied any wrongdoing.

Because of Cavanagh’s ruling, the Madans’ lawyers hope to bring those four unnamed associates as well as 20 provincial “vendors of record” into the case.

“Now all of the parties who are responsible for this scheme will be before the court, and the full story, which Shalini, Ujjawal, and Chinmaya Madan believe will exonerate them will come out,” lawyer Christopher Du Vernet said Thursday.

“Now the wholesale corruption that has long permeated the provincial government’s procurement system will be revealed for all to see,” said Du Vernet.

“A decade of inadequate auditing, wilful blindness and sheer wastefulness will finally see public scrutiny,” he said.

“The Ford government tried to prevent Shalini, Ujjawal, and Chinmaya Madan from adding the real wrongdoers to the case. The government’s obstruction has failed, and properly so.”

Crown lawyer Christopher Wayland acknowledged last month the government is pursuing other allegations and predicted others would soon be before the court.

“The issues are complex, perpetrated over many years, perhaps a decade or longer, instigated by … the ringleader, Sanjay Madan, that was someone who was sophisticated with IT systems and therefore well able to at least attempt to cover his tracks,” said Wayland.

“It’s not just the fraud with respect to the Support for Families program, but also kickbacks with respect to the engagement of fee-for-services consultants,” he said.

That’s a reference to an elaborate scheme that allegedly stole an additional $30 million over the past decade.

Queen’s Park has frozen $28 million in Madan assets in Canada and India, including $12.4 million in Indian bank accounts, an $8 million Waterloo apartment complex, a seven-bedroom house in North York valued at $2.57 million, and six Toronto condominiums worth about $3 million.

Last month, the Star revealed Sanjay Madan, who owns two villas in Hyderabad, jetted to India in August 2020 and bought and sold more than $500,000 in gold.

He said he “suffered a loss” when he sold it there last September as he “was in a rush to come back to Canada because (the) OPP was knocking (on) my doors.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Judge rules family linked to alleged $11M COVID-19 fraud can access more funds for legal defence

News Sep 16, 2021 by Robert Benzie Queen's Park Bureau Chief

In a setback for Premier Doug Ford’s government, an Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled the family linked to the alleged theft of $11 million in pandemic aid can access more legal defence funds.

By dismissing another Crown bid to limit the Madan family’s spending, Justice Peter Cavanagh has opened the door to their lawyers dramatically expanding the scope of the case.

“I decline to make the order requested by (the government) on this motion at this time,” wrote Cavanagh in a decision released Wednesday.

Court documents allege “some or all of” Sanjay Madan, his wife, Shalini, their adult sons Chinmaya and Ujjawal, and associate Vidhan Singh perpetrated “a massive fraud” to direct COVID-19 relief funds to numerous bank accounts at branches of TD Bank, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, Tangerine, and India’s ICICI Bank.

The province’s allegations against the Madans and Singh have not been proven in court. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating and no criminal charges have been laid.

Sanjay Madan was fired last November from a $176,608-a-year post as the Ministry of Education’s information technology leader on the Support for Families program, which gave per-child pandemic payments of $200 and $250.

In civil court testimony, which cannot be used against him in any potential criminal action, he’s acknowledged he “relaxed” computer security so more payouts could be made to the same bank accounts.

Shalini Madan, who is separating from her husband, was terminated last fall from her $132,513-a-year job as a Ministry of Government and Consumer Services computer manager. She’s suing Queen’s Park for wrongful dismissal.

Their sons, Chinmaya and Ujjawal Madan, voluntarily resigned from lower-level provincial IT jobs last year.

Shalini, Chinmaya and Ujjawal Madan have denied doing anything wrong, as has Singh.

The Crown alleges Sanjay Madan also masterminded a broader “conspiracy” that predated the pandemic, which saw millions in “secret commissions” paid in exchange for hiring favoured contractors and subcontractors on government computer projects.

In January, Sanjay Madan testified he and Singh and four other associates — not his wife and sons — were involved in a business that hired Ministry of Education IT consultants. Singh has denied any wrongdoing.

Because of Cavanagh’s ruling, the Madans’ lawyers hope to bring those four unnamed associates as well as 20 provincial “vendors of record” into the case.

“Now all of the parties who are responsible for this scheme will be before the court, and the full story, which Shalini, Ujjawal, and Chinmaya Madan believe will exonerate them will come out,” lawyer Christopher Du Vernet said Thursday.

“Now the wholesale corruption that has long permeated the provincial government’s procurement system will be revealed for all to see,” said Du Vernet.

“A decade of inadequate auditing, wilful blindness and sheer wastefulness will finally see public scrutiny,” he said.

“The Ford government tried to prevent Shalini, Ujjawal, and Chinmaya Madan from adding the real wrongdoers to the case. The government’s obstruction has failed, and properly so.”

Crown lawyer Christopher Wayland acknowledged last month the government is pursuing other allegations and predicted others would soon be before the court.

“The issues are complex, perpetrated over many years, perhaps a decade or longer, instigated by … the ringleader, Sanjay Madan, that was someone who was sophisticated with IT systems and therefore well able to at least attempt to cover his tracks,” said Wayland.

“It’s not just the fraud with respect to the Support for Families program, but also kickbacks with respect to the engagement of fee-for-services consultants,” he said.

That’s a reference to an elaborate scheme that allegedly stole an additional $30 million over the past decade.

Queen’s Park has frozen $28 million in Madan assets in Canada and India, including $12.4 million in Indian bank accounts, an $8 million Waterloo apartment complex, a seven-bedroom house in North York valued at $2.57 million, and six Toronto condominiums worth about $3 million.

Last month, the Star revealed Sanjay Madan, who owns two villas in Hyderabad, jetted to India in August 2020 and bought and sold more than $500,000 in gold.

He said he “suffered a loss” when he sold it there last September as he “was in a rush to come back to Canada because (the) OPP was knocking (on) my doors.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Judge rules family linked to alleged $11M COVID-19 fraud can access more funds for legal defence

News Sep 16, 2021 by Robert Benzie Queen's Park Bureau Chief

In a setback for Premier Doug Ford’s government, an Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled the family linked to the alleged theft of $11 million in pandemic aid can access more legal defence funds.

By dismissing another Crown bid to limit the Madan family’s spending, Justice Peter Cavanagh has opened the door to their lawyers dramatically expanding the scope of the case.

“I decline to make the order requested by (the government) on this motion at this time,” wrote Cavanagh in a decision released Wednesday.

Court documents allege “some or all of” Sanjay Madan, his wife, Shalini, their adult sons Chinmaya and Ujjawal, and associate Vidhan Singh perpetrated “a massive fraud” to direct COVID-19 relief funds to numerous bank accounts at branches of TD Bank, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, Tangerine, and India’s ICICI Bank.

The province’s allegations against the Madans and Singh have not been proven in court. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating and no criminal charges have been laid.

Sanjay Madan was fired last November from a $176,608-a-year post as the Ministry of Education’s information technology leader on the Support for Families program, which gave per-child pandemic payments of $200 and $250.

In civil court testimony, which cannot be used against him in any potential criminal action, he’s acknowledged he “relaxed” computer security so more payouts could be made to the same bank accounts.

Shalini Madan, who is separating from her husband, was terminated last fall from her $132,513-a-year job as a Ministry of Government and Consumer Services computer manager. She’s suing Queen’s Park for wrongful dismissal.

Their sons, Chinmaya and Ujjawal Madan, voluntarily resigned from lower-level provincial IT jobs last year.

Shalini, Chinmaya and Ujjawal Madan have denied doing anything wrong, as has Singh.

The Crown alleges Sanjay Madan also masterminded a broader “conspiracy” that predated the pandemic, which saw millions in “secret commissions” paid in exchange for hiring favoured contractors and subcontractors on government computer projects.

In January, Sanjay Madan testified he and Singh and four other associates — not his wife and sons — were involved in a business that hired Ministry of Education IT consultants. Singh has denied any wrongdoing.

Because of Cavanagh’s ruling, the Madans’ lawyers hope to bring those four unnamed associates as well as 20 provincial “vendors of record” into the case.

“Now all of the parties who are responsible for this scheme will be before the court, and the full story, which Shalini, Ujjawal, and Chinmaya Madan believe will exonerate them will come out,” lawyer Christopher Du Vernet said Thursday.

“Now the wholesale corruption that has long permeated the provincial government’s procurement system will be revealed for all to see,” said Du Vernet.

“A decade of inadequate auditing, wilful blindness and sheer wastefulness will finally see public scrutiny,” he said.

“The Ford government tried to prevent Shalini, Ujjawal, and Chinmaya Madan from adding the real wrongdoers to the case. The government’s obstruction has failed, and properly so.”

Crown lawyer Christopher Wayland acknowledged last month the government is pursuing other allegations and predicted others would soon be before the court.

“The issues are complex, perpetrated over many years, perhaps a decade or longer, instigated by … the ringleader, Sanjay Madan, that was someone who was sophisticated with IT systems and therefore well able to at least attempt to cover his tracks,” said Wayland.

“It’s not just the fraud with respect to the Support for Families program, but also kickbacks with respect to the engagement of fee-for-services consultants,” he said.

That’s a reference to an elaborate scheme that allegedly stole an additional $30 million over the past decade.

Queen’s Park has frozen $28 million in Madan assets in Canada and India, including $12.4 million in Indian bank accounts, an $8 million Waterloo apartment complex, a seven-bedroom house in North York valued at $2.57 million, and six Toronto condominiums worth about $3 million.

Last month, the Star revealed Sanjay Madan, who owns two villas in Hyderabad, jetted to India in August 2020 and bought and sold more than $500,000 in gold.

He said he “suffered a loss” when he sold it there last September as he “was in a rush to come back to Canada because (the) OPP was knocking (on) my doors.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie