Police close in on alleged $2m loan fraud

January 19, 2001

A man arrested by Canadian police in connection with an alleged C$2 million (£893,000) student loan fraud is to appear in court later this month.

More arrests are expected in connection with the alleged fraud, which covered three provinces, according to the radio station that broke the story.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in charge of the investigation, is not releasing details. RCMP Corporal Louise Lafrance said: "I can't confirm or deny any reports because the matter is before the courts."

It is believed that false applications were made at Moncton, Quebec and Ottawa universities.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, police apprehended a man at a Montreal university with a student loan application on him. He was carrying a key to an Ottawa post-office box that is believed to have been a drop-off point for the loans.

Police have released the name of the man arrested in November at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal on charges of fraudulently obtaining more than C$38,000, in crimes that allegedly took place between 1996 and 2000. Mounir Dallo has been arraigned and will next appear in a Montreal court on January 30.

Stolen university seals and phoney diplomatic stamps from Burundi and Egypt were reportedly used to help authenticate applications.

New Brunswick police were tipped off after a university administrator spotted the same writing on two application forms.

Dave Belmore, of the New Brunswick department of student financial aid, said he has been instructed not to comment on the case. However, he did emphasise that the province's student loans programme was safe. "Nobody here has ever (before) been defrauded," he said.

The Canada Student Loans Programme hands out C$1.8 billion a year to about half of Canada's 600,000 university students. While there was a case of student loan fraud from a vocational school reported recently, this seems to be the first time the universities have been hit.

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