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Bureaucrat Employed By Public Trustee and Public Guardian Admits Theft Of $1.2M From Ill and Vulnerable Over A Period of 12 Years
Preadorshani Biazar was a relatively low-earning provincial bureaucrat with an unemployed husband when she was arrested in 2007 — yet she was able to travel the world, own three Toronto-area homes and drive an expensive luxury SUV.
The woman’s secret source of wealth was unearthed in a Toronto courtroom, as Biazar pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.23-million from mentally ill, homeless and even dead people whose interests she was supposed to be protecting.
Biazar, who was a caseworker for Ontario’s Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee until she was fired in August 2007, pleaded guilty yesterday to running an extensive fraud that bilked 52 clients of between $1,000 and $400,000 over a 12-year period.
Several of Biazar’s schemes were detailed in an agreed statement of facts read out in provincial court yesterday, as the 43-year-old mother of three sat quietly and listened.
They include the tale of one homeless, mentally ill man who had lived on the streets for decades when Biazar took over his case in 2007. Because the man’s government benefits went untouched, he had accrued nearly $116,000 in an account.
Almost immediately, Biazar began scheming, documenting false cases of contact with the man. She forged a doctor’s letter declaring the man — whose affairs had been managed by the province since 1980 — suddenly capable of controlling his own finances. She then opened a bank account, secured a debit card and quickly began using it to pay for her own gas, groceries, clothing and restaurant dinners.
She had four other fraudulent debit cards linking to healthy bank accounts, according to police, using the stolen money to support a lavish lifestyle.
She drove a BMW X5, owned a $30,000 power boat and travelled to Europe, Las Vegas, Dubai and Halifax. The family took multiple ski vacations to Mont Tremblant and Collingwood and vacationed at summer resorts.
Biazar’s salary ranged from $50,000 to $70,000 over that 12-year period of employment.
According to court documents, none of the stolen money has been recovered except $100,000 that was frozen in one unauthorized bank account.
Police say they began investigating the woman in August 2007, after being tipped to her case by a relative of one of her clients. She was fired shortly after the investigation began.
It took police 17 months to build their case, eventually charging her with one count each of breach of trust, fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime.
Biazar, meanwhile, was quick to liquidate at least one valuable asset before police moved in, selling her $850,000 home in Leaside 11 days after she was fired. She deposited the $340,000 profit from that transaction in her unemployed husband’s bank account.
That chunk of cash has since disappeared, along with all of the remaining stolen money, says OPP Detective Sergeant Shawn Evans, an investigator with the force’s corruption unit.
“The money’s not there. It’s gone,” says Det. Sgt. Evans, the lead investigator in the case. “In order to seize someone’s assets pending the outcome of criminal charges, you have to have reasonable grounds that they’re the proceeds of a crime…. You just can’t come in on day one and have a good enough sense of what the allegations are to move.”
Adapted from NATIONAL POST JULY 15, 2009