Former Ontario Bureaucrat Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $47.4M, Given 10-Year Prison Sentence

Former Ontario Bureaucrat Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $47.4M, Given 10-Year Prison Sentence
The Ontario legislature in Toronto on Feb. 20, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn)
Matthew Horwood

A former bureaucrat accused of embezzling public funds has pleaded guilty to stealing $47.4 million from the Ontario government—including $10.8 million in pandemic aid—and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The Ministry of the Attorney General said a judge sentenced Sanjay Madan to ten years in prison on April 4 after a joint submission from the defence and the Crown. Madan pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering.

While he initially pleaded guilty to theft of COVID-19 relief funds, he also admitted to taking an additional $36.6 million as part of a “fee-for-service” computer consultant scheme, which dated back to January 2011.

“This was an extremely complicated—some might say genius-style—fraud,“ said Superior Court Justice Suhail Akhtar as he sentenced Madan, according to the Toronto Star. “You absolutely deprived taxpayers of money that could have gone into so many different things, including public services that are required in this province.”

Madan, who previously earned $176,608 a year as the Ministry of Education’s information technology leader on the Support for Families program (SFFP) until he was terminated in October 2020.

According to a civil claim filed by Ontario in 2020, Madan engaged in two fraudulent schemes. The province alleged that between April 2020 and August 2020, Madan made thousands of fraudulent applications under the SFFP using fictitious names.

The applications were approved and the funds were paid into one of the over 2,500 bank accounts he and his appellants opened. The Crown alleged that payments in excess of $10.8 million were made into those accounts as a result of the fraudulent applications.

The second fraudulent scheme alleged that Madan had been paid kickbacks by consultant vendors who obtained fee-for-service contracts with the Ministry of Education. Madan was the person responsible for selecting the vendors and signing off on the consultants’ timesheets. The province alleged that the kickback scheme had gone on for at least ten years.

Madan had alleged that the Ontario government was at fault, saying it “hired incompetent employees, failed to use appropriate hardware and software safeguards, and failed to take proper steps to guard against unscrupulous employees.”

As part of a plea bargain, criminal charges were withdrawn on April 4 against Madan’s spouse, Shalini Madan, although she still faces civil charges. The Madans’ adult sons, Chinmaya and Ujjawal, have been in civil court since 2020, but were not charged criminally.

Madan was criminally charged in September 2021 following an investigation by seven detectives from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) anti-rackets squad.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.