23 Aug

BC Gaming Policy Enforcement Agent Arrested

Another BC Canada gambling scandal implodes over illegal migrant workers.

Another BC Canada Gambling Scandal Implodes over Illegal Migrant Workers

If there’s one thing the gambling industry of British Columbia doesn’t need right now, it’s another discredit to the integrity of its legal enforcers. The region’s casinos are just now recovering from the ashen reputation brought on by scandalous revelations of a money laundering cover-up that lasted more than a decade. Now, one of the Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch‘s own is tangled up in a nasty web of lies and deceit.

Comparatively speaking, up to $30,000 in duplicitous activities revolving around illegal migrant workers pales to the more than $1 billion in illegal money laundering that went on at the province’s lower mainland casinos. However, the fact that it’s occurring within the GPEB this time – the branch responsible for policing the previously accused BC Lottery Corp – is shamefully significant.

Another BC Canada Gambling Scandal Erupts

According to recent reports, an as-yet-unnamed employee of British Columbia’s gaming enforcement agency, GPEB, has been accused of intentionally misrepresenting migrants who applied for a workers permit at the Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver. The employee allegedly falsified work documents, entering incorrect job titles and submitting misleading photographs for personal gain.

An investigation into the matter resulted in at least two dozen migrant workers employed by Hastings Racecourse being arrested for not having a permit to work. Most of them were surprised by the fact, claiming to have paid as much as $1,000 for what they believed to be a legitimate permit. At least one, however, said he suspected the documentation was illegal – not because he expected to receive false documents, but because he’s applied for and received a worker’s permit in Canada before, and nothing this GPEB employee did seemed consistent with his previous experience.

Falsify the Paperwork, Pocket the Cash

Each of the workers took the appropriate steps, visiting the GPEB’s branch office at Hastings Racecourse to apply for a worker’s permit and job at the track. The inspector in that office charged the workers as much as $1,000 a piece in application fees. Instead of filing for workers permits, however, the employee filed erroneous documents stating that the foreign nationals were horse owners.

As the owner of a horse, no work permit is needed to work at the facility; thus no fee needed to be attached to the documentation. No doubt, the illicit employee pocketed those funds. Along with the falsified horse owner documentation, he also submitted false photographs in at least 9 of the cases. The photographs were of different people than the workers they were supposed to be representing – people who didn’t even work at the track.

Those applications were then sent to the GBEP registration office in Victoria, BC, where they were approved. Once the documents came back, the employee altered the information once more, changing the occupation of each migrant worker to the actual job they were to be hired for.

The allegations, as detailed by the Canada Border Services Agency involved in the investigation, were obtained and published by The Globe and Mail:

Upon receipt of approval, the GPEB inspector prints them a registration card that lists the foreign worker’s job title as an owner.

On a subsequent day, the same GPEB inspector is going back into [the gaming online system] and changing the foreign worker’s job title from owner to the job title that actually reflects the work they are going to be doing at the racetrack, such as a ‘groom,’ which is a job that requires a work permit.”

Migrants Get the Short End of the Stick

The investigation is said to be the result of multiple complaints received by the office of BC’s Attorney General, pertaining to illegal migrant workers at Hastings Racecourse. So far, the investigation has uncovered 30 foreign nationals without legal working papers employed by the track.

One victim of the fraudulent activity, Brandon Carrion Gomez, shared his story with local media. Gomez said he paid $1,000 to apply for what he thought was a legal working permit. He was then hired on as a groom, for which he was paid $70 per day, in cash. As a first-time visitor to Canada, arriving June 9, 2019, he saw no reason to doubt the culprit when he was told he could now work legally.

“I feel sad,” he told reporters in his native Spanish tongue. “I was really enjoying my stay in this country. I was enchanted with this city and the people.” Mr. Gomez was issued an exclusion, relieving him of any wrong doing, but requiring him to return back to Mexico in the coming days.

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