City Employee Allegedly Stole $1-mil from City over 9 years

$1,052,235.20 – that’s how much money is alleged to have walked out the door at City Hall with no one knowing over nine years.

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What we known

What we do know is limited as the investigation, and includes:

  • $1,052,235.20 is what the City believes stolen
  • Insurance – City is “hopeful we will be able to recoup a significant portion of the lost” with a $1-million employee provision in city’s policy
  • Discovered June 7, 2013
  • The employee was a 25-year veteran and was in a position of trust

What we don’t know

  • how it happened
  • when it started
  • who the accused is
  • the amount of each fraudelent activity
  • what department it occurred in
  • who was responsible for supervision
  • who should’ve known/caught on
  • if anyone was a victim of this fraud (if in housing for example, did any evictions result)
  • why the City does cash payments in these amounts
  • and more

City Staff and Police Investigating

Acting General Manager of Corporate Services Mike Zegarac addressed media after a closed session Council briefing. He said the City is reviewing policies and procedures to “limit any such action from occuring again”

The “fraud itself is related to cash payments … that were ultimately not deposited,” Zegarac said.

It involved payments at City “rental facilities”, and the City suspected “51 vendor” accounts were involved.

The City called in the Hamilton Police Service Major Fraud Unit and the criminal investigation is ongoing.

When asked how this could happen, Zegarac responded it was a “form of fraud such that it was challenging to our financial control measures.”

I asked City Manager Chris Murray directly how the public can be confident in City Hall with this latest revalation.

“We are dealing with it right now. It has created great concern for us. We don’t enjoy the fact we have to explain what’s going on,” said Murray.

Toronto accounting firm John Douglas Accounting has been hired by City Hall to conduct a forensic accounting investigation, and City Hall is promising to keep the public informed.