Former Ontario Provincial Police union leaders on trial for fraud

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fraud alert

TORONTO — Prosecutors say three leaders of Ontario’s provincial police union were part of a group that used a travel company and consulting firm to defraud union members.

Crown lawyers are telling a Toronto court that five men purchased a travel company together in 2014 and it quickly became the Ontario Provincial Police Association’s sole travel booker.

They say three of the men — Karl Walsh, James Christie and Martin Bain — used their high-ranking positions in the union to channel business to the company, called First Response Travel Group.

Prosecutors allege the three did not disclose their role in the company to the union’s board of directors.

They also allege the group set up a consulting firm that was hired by the union, and that Walsh, Christie and Bain used money paid to the firm to purchase some of their shares in the travel company.

The Crown says that at the time, Christie was the union’s CEO, Walsh was its chief administrative officer and Bain was a board member and vice-president.

One of the other accused, Andrew McKay, was a lawyer who often worked with the union, and the other, Francis Chantiam, was an American businessman with experience in travel.

All five are charged with fraud over $5,000.

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