The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that, on October 27, 2021, Guerly Estimé, of Montréal, Québec, pleaded guilty at the Montréal Courthouse to criminal charges of making false or deceptive statements and forgery. He was sentenced to a conditional sentence of two years minus one day, followed by three years of probation. He was also fined a total of $144,821.
The CRA investigation revealed that between 2007 and 2018, Mr. Estimé fraudulently obtained up to $144,821 by claiming fraudulent Canada child benefits. The scheme consisted of using nominees to claim benefits for a dozen fictitious children.
All case-specific information above was obtained from the court records.
Tax cheating is a crime. Falsifying records and claims, wilfully not reporting income, or inflating expenses can lead to criminal charges, prosecution, jail time, and a criminal record. From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, there were 36 convictions, with court imposed fines totalling $5,172,844. These taxpayers were sentenced for wilfully evading payment amounts totalling $10,902,950 in tax. Out of the 36 convictions, 15 individuals were sent to jail for a total of 26.2 years.
In addition to court imposed fines and/or jail sentences, convicted taxpayers have to pay the full amount of tax owing, plus related interest and any penalties assessed by the CRA.
The CRA remains dedicated to maintaining the integrity of Canada’s tax system, as well as the social and economic well-being of Canadians during these unprecedented times. The CRA continues to aggressively pursue tax evasion and false claims with all tools available to them. The CRA is continuously working towards making sure that individuals and businesses report income earned and eligible losses, and claim benefits to which they are entitled, so that important benefit programs can be administered to those who need them. As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing the increased importance of these benefits, and are working to make sure that they continue to be available to Canadians. Any individual or business who underreports income, or claims losses or benefits to which they are not entitled, including ineligible claims for COVID-19 benefits, may have to repay the benefit amounts and may be subject to other possible action.