RCMP arrests 2 in alleged fraud scheme

The headquarters of the Canada Revenue Agency is photographed in Ottawa, November 4, 2011. (Chris...

The headquarters of the Canada Revenue Agency is photographed in Ottawa, November 4, 2011. (Chris Roussakis/QMI Agency)

Brian Daly, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:32 PM ET

MONTREAL -- The RCMP arrested two people Thursday in an alleged fraud scheme in which tax-evading businessmen bribed "corrupt Canada Revenue Agency officials."

Reza Tehrani, 55, and Liora Suissa, 49, are the eighth and ninth people arrested in the scam that was aimed at quashing outstanding tax bills.

Three federal tax officials, and other alleged co-conspirators, were arrested and charged earlier this year.

The Mounties say Thursday's arrests centre around a businessman who tried to reduce his personal tax burden and that of two companies. He's also believed to have defrauded a tax incentive program "to claim tax credits for his personal benefit," the Mounties say.

"They tried to corrupt for an amount of close to $6 million altogether," Cpl. Luc Thibault told QMI Agency.

Tehrani and Suissa are scheduled to appear in court next month.

All nine of the suspects are charged with conspiracy, fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

The investigation began in 2008 after Canada Revenue Agency complained to the RCMP.

The Mounties say a Montreal restaurant owner was told in 2005 that his tax bill could be scaled back in exchange for $90,000. Police say he turned down the offer.

Another Montreal restaurateur paid out $100,000 between June 2007 and August 2008 in exchange for hiding black-market income, police say.

In 2006, a third restaurateur was allegedly approached with a bogus tax bill that a Canada Revenue Agency employee said would be reduced in exchange for $50,000. Police say that offer was also rejected.

All three allegedly corrupt bureaucrats have since left the government.

Francesco Fazio was fired as an auditor and Elias Kawkab was fired from his job as a team leader, both last year. CRA worker Luigi Falcone resigned in 2009.


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