Statue of Justicia in Ottawa Canada. Diane Serré was sentenced to four years in prison for using her position at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to fast-track permanent resident applications in exchange for bribes
Former Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officer Diane Serré was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday for accepting bribes in exchange for preferential official treatment of applications for permanent residence.
Serré was found guilty of 15 counts of fraud and 12 counts of breach of trust by an Ontario Superior Court Justice in June for using her position as a CIC officer to help ten immigration applicants.
Police recorded hundreds of conversations between Serré and Issam Dakik, her esthetician’s husband, which were used as evidence against her in trial. Dakik plead guilty to charges in connection with the case in 2006, and spent 33 months in prison.
According to investigators, Dakik received at least $25,900 in bribes from immigration applicants. Police suspect that Serré received a portion of that as they found $300 in an envelope at her home that an undercover officer had given Dakik.
Ontario Court Justice Catherine Aitken, who presided over the case, said that Aitken’s actions put the country’s security at risk.
In one case that Justice Aitkin brought attention to, Serré fast-tracked the permanent resident application of a man who used three different family names, had passports in multiple countries, had been charged for a criminal offence in Canada, and had been sponsored by a woman who he had married and was 20 years older than him, all “red flags” that were ignored.
CIC office on Catherine Street in Ottawa where Serré worked (GOOGLE STREET VIEW)
Diane Serré, a former official at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), was found guilty of 15 counts of fraud and 12 counts of breach of trust by Ontario Superior Court Justice Catherine Aitken, for using her position at CIC to help 10 immigration applicants with their applications in exchange for gifts and cash remuneration.
The investigation that led to the charges against Serré found that she worked with her esthetician, Vivian Badaan-Dakik, and her husband, Issam Dakik, to find individuals willing to pay for preferential treatment by an official at CIC. Issam Dakik plead guilty to the charges laid against him in connection with the case and was sentenced to 33 months in prison in 2006.
In her 86 page decision, Judge Aitken found that the evidence of Serré’s culpability, which included hundreds of wiretapped conversations between Issam Dakik and Serré, was “absolutely overwhelming”, and determined that she received $25,900 from Dakik as part of the scheme.
Serré’s sentencing hearing will be held on July 27th.