Sanjay Madan, an Indian-origin former Ontario government employee, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing $47.4 million from the provincial government, including $10.8 million of Covid aid.
Madan, who worked as an IT Director within the Ministry of Education, admitted to committing multiple charges of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering through overseeing two complicated schemes to bilk millions of dollars from taxpayers, as reported by Global News.
His lawyer, Chris Sewratan, expressed remorse for Madan’s crimes, and Madan has agreed to repay the entire amount, $30 million of which has already been returned to the Ontario government. The remainder can be repaid over the next 15 years.
Sewrattan says Madan is feeling a “mix of emotions” following the sentencing, adding that he is daunted by what lies ahead of him in prison but grateful to put this behind him.
His wife Shalini Madan and his two boys’ names were on several of the accounts used to cheat the province, and according to his defence attorney Chris Sewrattan, part of his motivation for pleading guilty was to clear their names.
He said, “So, Mr Madan at the sentencing was – in taking responsibility – trying to drive home the point that it was him, and not his family and that’s why it is he who is going to jail and why it is his wife who is having all charges withdrawn, and why his sons have not been charged at all.”
Madan has five years to pay back the remainder of the restitution order after his release from prison. If he fails to do so, he could be re-incarcerated for another six years.
Madan’s fraudulent activities came to light during the Covid-19 pandemic when the government established the Support for Students fund to provide parents with a one-time payment of $200 per child to offset the costs of learning from home during the pandemic.
Madan, who had access to the internal processing portal, siphoned off more than 43,000 support payments into 2,841 bank accounts under his name, taking $10.8 million from the fund.
Madan’s wife Shalini and their two adult sons were initially charged as part of the investigation. However, criminal charges against them were dropped as part of a plea bargain designed to signal that Madan alone was responsible for the fraud.
According to media reports, the Ontario government has successfully obtained an injunction to freeze the Madan family’s assets in Canada as well as overseas in India. These assets include six Toronto condos collectively worth $3 million.
Madan’s lawyer stated that he pleaded guilty to clear his family’s names, as their names were on some of the accounts used to defraud the province. Madan’s whole family was employed with the Province of Ontario, but his sons have since resigned, and his wife was dismissed. The investigation into the pandemic fund’s fraud uncovered a larger nine-year scheme in which Madan received profits of $36.6 million.
Madan apologised to the taxpayers, the Ontario government, his family, and colleagues for his crimes. According to CTV News, after Madan’s release from prison, he has five years to repay the remaining amount. If he fails to do so, he could be re-incarcerated for another six years, according to his lawyer.
Maher Abdurahman, a spokesperson for the Attorney General, confirmed that Madan has been charged with two counts of fraud, two counts of breach of trust, one count of money laundering, and one count of possession of property obtained by crime.
In addition to his prison sentence, Madan is facing a restitution order of about $47.4 million, including the $10.8 million defrauded from the Support for Families Program.