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
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
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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