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An Ontario man has been given a three-year prison sentence for his role in a fraud case involving more than $34-million in false charitable donations.

The Canada Revenue Agency says Festus Bayden, of Brampton, Ont., was a partner in a tax preparation business known as E & F Tax Associates or as Bankay Financial Services Inc. in Toronto and later in Brampton.

The CRA says Mr. Bayden claimed more than $34-million in false charitable donations on individual income tax returns for the 2004 to 2006 tax years that he prepared for more than 30 of his clients.

It says he told his clients that a larger refund, or reduced taxes, could be obtained if they made a charitable donation for an amount that was far less than what was actually claimed on their income tax returns.

The CRA says Mr. Bayden fled the country before he could be prosecuted, but later returned to Canada in June, 2023.

The agency says Mr. Bayden pleaded guilty to one count of fraud over $5,000 under the Criminal Code and was sentenced to prison on Feb. 27.

The CRA says Mr. Bayden charged his clients approximately 10 per cent of the face value of the false, claimed charitable donation amounts.

“These promoters deliberately make false statements to assist their clients in avoiding or evading tax,” the Canada Revenue Agency said in a statement.

“As a result, they obtain a financial benefit from the fees they receive from their clients. To maintain the fairness of our tax system, the CRA holds both those promoters who facilitate tax evasion, as well as those who use their services to evade taxes, accountable for their actions.”

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