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A former Royal Bank of Canada employee and three other Toronto-area residents have been charged with fraud, after allegedly raising about $10.5-million through a business loan scheme.

The charges were announced Friday by Ontario’s Serious Fraud Office, a unit made up of police and prosecutors, which was created in 2019 to pursue white-collar crime. The office said it launched its investigation in January, 2021.

Investigators allege that the former bank manager worked with others to solicit “unwitting borrowers” to apply for loans under the Canada Small Business Financing Loan, a government-supported program that assists small businesses with leasehold improvements. Fake lease agreements and invoices were allegedly created to ensure the loans were accepted.

Once the loans were approved, investigators claim, most of the funds were distributed to vendors directly associated with the former bank manager, for work that was never completed.

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Dillon Nanavati, 37, of North York, was charged with fraud over $5,000 and with uttering a forged document. Edith Galinaitis, a spokesperson for RBC, confirmed that Mr. Nanavati worked for the bank. According to a LinkedIn profile associated with his name, he was a senior account manager there for two years, between 2013 and 2015.

Ms. Galinaitis said the alleged conduct occurred after the end of Mr. Nanavati’s employment at RBC. “We take allegations of fraud seriously and RBC does not tolerate infractions of the law. We reported this matter to the police in January 2021 and have been co-operating with them,” she added.

The three other accused are residents of Scarborough: Aggash Mohan, 25; Nicksain Kalaimathian, 29; and Jonnystan Amirtharatnam, 26. All three are charged with fraud over $5,000.

The accused are expected to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice on May 31.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, those found guilty of fraud over $5,000 face imprisonment of up to 14 years, with a minimum of two years if the amount exceeds $1-million. Forging documents carries a punishment of up to 10 years.

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