Photo retrieved from Sûreté du Québec Facebook page.

North Glengarry business raided as part of larger fraud investigation

A North Glengarry business was investigated last week as part of a larger police investigation based in Quebec.

OPP spokesperson Tylor Copeland confirmed Kenyon Auto Centre was searched on Thursday, March 16. The OPP was present, he said, but the investigation was led by the Surete du Quebec. He said he was not aware of any other businesses in the area being investigated.

A diagram supplied by the SQ illustrating an alleged tax evasion scheme.

The investigation, which police called Operation Nobelium, resulted in 21 people aged between 35 and 60 being arrested in Montreal, Monteregie and Ontario, police say.

The investigation began in May of 2015. The SQ says it involved a “complicated fraud scheme” where a shell corporation controlled by a recycling company issued fake receipts for the purchase of metal. The criminal organization, police say, kept an amount equal to the taxes that would have been owed. Over 19 months, the scheme involved the exchange of about $17 million into cash, police say. An SQ press release says police seized $300,000 in Canadian currency, documents, computer equipment, and 13 firearms during the investigation.

The SQ press release alleges the idea behind using a company in Ontario was to complicate matters for investigators. The organization responsible for the alleged fraud used an Ontario bank account, the SQ says.

Police say about 150 police officers from the SQ, OPP, as local police forces in Montreal, Gatineau, Thérèse-de-Blainville and Richelieu-Saint Laurent participated in the investigation.