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Toronto man sentenced to five years for claiming nearly $1-million in tax refunds

The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on Nov. 4, 2011.

Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Toronto man has been sentenced to five years in prison for claiming nearly $1-million in Goods and Services Tax and Harmonized Sales Tax refunds to which he wasn't entitled.

The Canada Revenue Agency says Alexander Wiafe – who was convicted of fraud over $5,000 – also was fined $96,000 and faces an additional 18 months in custody if the fine isn't paid within five years of his release.

The CRA says Wiafe – the director and sole shareholder of Wiafco Industries Ltd. – filed eight quarterly GST/HST returns between March 13, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2014, claiming refunds for purchases that were either fictitious or not incurred by the company.

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It says Wiafe claimed a total of $997,842 in refunds and received two refund payments totalling $106,057, which he used both for personal expenditures and also to further the fraud.

Wiafco was purportedly in the business of importing and exporting used clothing, but court heard that records and an inspection of its business premises did not reveal any legitimate commercial activity or source of funds.

In fact, the CRA says Wiafco's invoices and banking records were falsified, and Wiafe paid for leasing the business premises and equipment with the refunds he received from filing his first two fraudulent returns.

Justin Trudeau says the Liberals have invested 'historic sums' to crack down on tax avoidance. Opposition parties questioned the prime minister over leaked records suggesting his party’s top fundraiser is linked to offshore tax havens. The Canadian Press
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