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.
The Palais de justice, a courthouse in Montreal, Canada. Montreal police told an intended target of the scam, Siddharth Kashyap, that there was nothing they could do because no crime had been committed since he had not sent the fraudster money (Jean Gagnon)
According to a report by the CBC, a new fraud is being perpetrated against new Canadians by scam-artists pretending to be lawyers with the Supreme Court of Canada.
The scam involves fraudsters contacting recent immigrants by phone and telling them that they had failed to fill out a form during their immigration application, and were therefore facing charges of immigration fraud that would result in their deportation.
The scam-artists then tell the intended victims that their court hearing had already been scheduled in Ottawa in a few days, and that before the court hearing, they would have to travel to India and fill out the form they had missed before, or wire money to a lawyer at the Canadian consulate in India to do it for them, or face conviction for immigration fraud and eventual deportation.
After one of the intended targets, Siddharth Kashyap, reported the fraud attempt to the Montreal police, they told him that since he hadn’t sent money, no crime had been committed, and there was nothing they could do.
The number given by the scam-artist was based out of Colorado. A recording of a call to the fraud perpetrator by a CBC reporter posing as a scam target can be heard here.