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$400K vanishes from public service union's coffers

June 6, 2018 8:32 PM
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$400K vanishes from public service union's coffers

Money siphoned over 8 years through fraudulent e-transfers, CAPE suspects

A union representing public service professionals across Canada, including economists, statisticians and civilian employees of the RCMP, is trying to figure out how $400,000 was apparently siphoned from its bank accounts over the course of nearly a decade without anyone's knowledge.

Sources tell CBC News one employee has been fired from the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) in relation to an internal investigation, though the union said several employees were investigated.

The union notified Ottawa police more than a year ago about the alleged misappropriation of funds, but never made it public.

"I'm sure many members don't know about this," said Judy Everson, who works at Statistics Canada. "I'm shocked. I'm disgusted. Do I have a trust in the union? Any faith in the union? Respect for the union? I think that's just gone down the drain for me. Unbelievable. The worst of it is, it's been going on not for months, but years."

Longtime CAPE member Judy Everson said she's 'disgusted' her union hasn't been more transparent about the missing money. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

In early May 2017, at least one person tipped off the union's national executive committee about potential financial irregularities, Phillips said.

"Some evidence was brought to our attention. We immediately took action to hire the forensic auditors to look into the matter."

The union said it also went to Ottawa police around the same time, but police would not confirm an investigation to CBC. No one has been charged in relation to the missing money.

The auditor, Deloitte, pored over CAPE's financial records and discovered that in 2017 alone more than $60,000 had been electronically transferred out of the union's main bank account without any supporting documents such as receipts or invoices.

But that was just the beginning; the auditor found more suspicious e-transfers dating back eight years.

From 2009 to 2017, between $380,000 and $400,000 disappeared, according to financial statements posted on CAPE's website.

CAPE is the third-largest labour union representing federal public servants, with about 15,000 members including economists, translators, policy analysts, researchers and statisticians. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

e-transfers were sporadic over the years. The amounts varied, but were typically in the low four figures.


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