5 People charged with fraud, money laundering after probe into OPP union

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The RCMP have charged 3 former senior employees of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, a Toronto lawyer and a U.S. citizen with fraud over $5,000 and money laundering.

The charges follow a 19-month investigation by the RCMP Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Units into allegations of improper conduct, the RCMP said in a news release.

The following people were charged in Toronto on Thursday with two counts each: Karl Walsh, 52, of West Gwillimbury, Ont.; James Christie, 48, of Midland, Ont.; Martin Bain, 50, of Oro-Medonte, Ont.; Andrew McKay, 54, of Toronto; and Francis Chantiam, 60, of New Jersey.

Christie, an OPP detective sergeant, was suspended from duty in March 2015, along with Walsh and Bain, both OPP constables.

Walsh was the chief administrative officer for the OPP union and ran for a provincial seat in the 2011 election for the Liberals. Christie, the union’s president, and Bain, the union’s vice-president, have been on voluntary leaves of absence from their union positions. McKay is a Toronto lawyer.

The investigators probed allegations of improper conduct “by former senior employees of the Ontario Provincial Police Association and persons acting in concert with them,” the RCMP said in the statement.

Sgt. Penny Hermann, RCMP media relations officer for Ontario, said the RCMP carried out a search warrant of the OPP Association’s head office in Barrie in March 2015.

“As a result of our investigation, this is how the charges were laid,” she said.

The RCMP said the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) helped in its investigation.

The five accused are scheduled to appear in a Toronto court on July 18.

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