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Cape Breton’s mother and daughters receive federal jail for fraud

Written by Javed Iqbal

SYDNEY – A Cape Breton mother and her three daughters were handcuffed and chained away from the Sydney Justice Center on Thursday after being sentenced to federal prison terms.

The four were convicted in February of 10 counts of fraud and 10 counts of filing false GST claims. Ten other offenses were exposed.

Supreme Court Justice Robin Gogan also sentenced fines to the four accused.

Lydia Saker, 77, of Sydney Mines, was fined $ 335,099; Nadia Saker, 45, of Leitches Creek, must pay a fine of $ 493,620, while Angela MacDonald, 47, of Sydney Mines must pay a fine of $ 961,186.

For Georgette Young, 50, of North Sydney, who was considered the mastermind of the fraud scheme, the fine imposed was $ 1,997,601.

Lydia Saker was sentenced to complete a 24-month jail term, while Nadia Saker and Angela MacDonald will each serve a 36-month sentence. Young is due to serve a 48-month sentence.

“This was a large-scale organized criminal fraud committed by the Canadian public,” Gogan said in the sentencing.

She said the offenders mocked the Canadian tax system, which depends on the integrity of citizens.

The fines imposed were as recommended by federal prosecutors Mark Donohoe and Constantin Draghici-Vasilescu, and prison sentences were also within the range proposed by the Crown.

The defendants represented themselves during their 24-day trial and showed no reaction to the sentencing.

The crimes took place between January 2011 and July 2015.

Evidence from the trial indicated that some of the 10 family-run businesses had no bank accounts or only opened an account when it was discovered that their reimbursement requests were being reviewed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Lydia Saker, mother of Georgette Young, Angela Macdonald and Nadia Saker, received a two-year federal prison sentence for her role in the multi-million dollar fraud case.  CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO - Cape Breton Post
Lydia Saker, mother of Georgette Young, Angela Macdonald and Nadia Saker, received a two-year federal prison sentence for her role in the multi-million dollar fraud case. CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO – Cape Breton Post

NO EMPLOYEES

A CRA audit found no evidence of contracts with suppliers or customer lists, and there were no employees or production facilities. The family-run companies allegedly sold a range of goods, including wigs, salad dressings, children’s clothing and cookbooks.

By submitting false receipts for GST rebates, the family told CRA auditors that all transactions were conducted in cash, but there was no evidence to support the extent of transactions carried out. There were no electronic records. Young proved to be the accountant for all the family-run businesses.

“In the mountains of financial evidence offered to this court for consideration, it is difficult to identify any real transaction or authentic business activity,” Gogan said in his ruling.

In his presentation to the court, Donohoe said the scheme started with only small amounts being demanded for repayment, but grew rapidly as the family doubled and demanded higher amounts.

Nadia Saker is being carried away in a sheriff's van after leaving the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday.  Cases received a three-year prison sentence for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud case.  CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO - Cape Breton Post
Nadia Saker is being carried away in a sheriff’s van after leaving the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday. Cases received a three-year prison sentence for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud case. CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO – Cape Breton Post

One of the family businesses filed a refund of $ 440,000 for more than $ 3 million in food sales over four months.

“This was complete fabrication, and they all knew what was going on,” Donohoe said.

The sentencing was scheduled for May, but was postponed until Wednesday to give offenders more time to prepare for their sentencing.

They arrived in court on Wednesday, requesting another postponement to secure medical records from the 1990s. Young told the court that she and her family suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing domestic violence while growing up.

Furthermore, Young argued, medication she has been taking for years could result in a psychosis that would affect her mindset.

Gogan noted that the family had needed such information since February, and there was no mention of PTSD in any of the four pre-judgment reports. Each perpetrator reported that they had no mental health issues in the reports.

Young even complained of having printer problems, which further delayed the reproduction of medical reports.

When Gogan asked how long a break the family needed, Young replied that she did not know.

Donohoe said the crown was against any postponement and that the family was simply grabbing for straws to delay the inevitable.

Gogan rejected the offer of a postponement.

Angela Macdonald is headed from the Sydney Justice Center on Thursday afternoon.  She was sentenced to three years in federal prison for a multi-million dollar fraud.  Between 2011 and 2015, Macdonald, her two sisters and her mother filed false GST claims, claiming a total of $ 20,628,805.  Of this amount, the Canada Revenue Agency paid refunds and credits totaling $ 357,359.  CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO - Cape Breton Post
Angela Macdonald is headed from the Sydney Justice Center on Thursday afternoon. She was sentenced to three years in federal prison for a multi-million dollar fraud. Between 2011 and 2015, Macdonald, her two sisters and her mother filed false GST claims, claiming a total of $ 20,628,805. Of this amount, the Canada Revenue Agency paid refunds and credits totaling $ 357,359. CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO – Cape Breton Post

NO REAL BUSINESS

During the period covering the offenses, it filed false GST statements claiming a total reimbursement of $ 20,628,805. Of that amount, the CRA paid $ 275,960 in reimbursement and allocated an additional $ 81,399 as a credit to other amounts owed to the agency, meaning the family and their businesses were paid $ 357,359.

Young was the conductor of the orchestra, but her mother and siblings played along. She was without a doubt the leader of the operation, controlling the mix and the mix of the related companies as needed to reach the end goal, ”the judge said in his ruling.

“In the mountains of financial evidence offered to this court for consideration, it is difficult to identify any real transaction or authentic business activity,” Gogan said in his ruling.

In his presentation to the court, Donohoe said the family would submit receipts from both actual and fictitious companies that have allegedly purchased a number of products. Representatives of some of these companies testified that they had never placed an order with any of the family’s barn of companies. A representative testified that he would never order large quantities of salad dressing because he makes his own internally.

Young had previously stated that the family plans to appeal the verdict.

Donohue said that as long as the offenders make an effort to pay down their fines, the Crown will not impose other restrictions, but if no effort is made or shown, there are other measures that could be implemented.

Georgette Young, who is considered the leader of the multi-million dollar fraud with her sisters Angela Macdonald and Nadia Saker, along with their mother Lydia Saker, received a four-year federal prison sentence in Nova Scotia's Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday.  CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO - Cape Breton Post
Georgette Young, who is considered the leader of the multi-million dollar fraud with her sisters Angela Macdonald and Nadia Saker, along with their mother Lydia Saker, received a four-year federal prison sentence in Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court in Sydney on Thursday. CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO – Cape Breton Post

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Javed Iqbal

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