Woman charged after attempting to open bank accounts for false CERB applications, police say

Toronto police have arrested a woman who they say tried to set up numerous bank accounts with the aim of falsely claiming the Canada emergency response benefit.

The 40-year-old Montreal woman allegedly travelled to Toronto “for the sole purpose of fraudulently making CERB applications,” police said Friday in a news release.

The CERB is a taxable benefit from the Canadian government paid out to eligible workers who have lost their income because of COVID-19. It entitles people to payments of $2,000 every four weeks for up to 16 weeks.

Police arrested the woman Thursday after being contacted by a bank, and say they also seized false identification from her.

The woman now faces a string of charges including:

  • Fraud under $5,000.
  • Altering or creating a document for the purpose of fraud.
  • Possession of an identity document.
  • Impersonation.

Canadians have made almost 190,000 repayments of Canada emergency response benefits they weren’t entitled to receive, according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The agency has said it also reviewing 600 tips on alleged misuse of emergency aid program.

Police say the investigation into the Montreal woman is ongoing.

“The Toronto Police Service are reminding the public and financial institutions to be vigilant at all times, and to report all suspected fraudulent account openings to police,” the release said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5200, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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