Pubdate: Sun, 07 May 2006
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Kevin Connor, Toronto Sun
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars Feared Missing At Centre For 
Addiction-Mental Health

Toronto fraud squad cops are investigating how hundreds of thousands 
of dollars have been stolen from the bank accounts of patients at the 
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

"We recently discovered information that made us suspect a problem 
with some of our clients' accounts. We immediately launched an 
internal investigation, notified the police and brought in a 
specialist accounting firm from outside CAMH to conduct a forensic 
audit," Dr. Paul Garfinkel, the centre's president, wrote recently in 
an internal memo to senior staff.

"The external forensic audit was completed on April 18. It indicated 
that monies were missing from certain clients accounts."


The CAMH has a cashier office, at 1001 Queen St. W., where patients 
can deposit their cheques and under staff supervision withdraw cash 
for daily use.

"There is an ongoing police investigation into the embezzlement by an 
employee of CAMH who works in the cash office," a source close to the 
investigation said.

"Apparently hundreds of thousands of dollars may have been stolen 
over many years from our clients.

"You have to wonder how many (patients) were found not capable to 
manage their funds once they expressed a concern that the cash office 
was stealing from them."

Patients at CAMH are well aware of the police investigation and the 
employee who has allegedly been stealing from them, said Nick Macy, 
who has been a patient at CAMH for the past two years.

"We have all heard the story. I know a fellow who was reimbursed 
$3,000 last week," Macy said.


"I had my back statements pulled to see if there was anything 
questionable, but it looked okay."

All the patients who had money stolen will be compensated, CAMH 
spokesman Ann Mahdy said yesterday, refusing to say how many patients 
had been ripped off.

"This is troubling and we are very, very sorry. We will be working 
closely with the caregivers and stakeholders and completely reviewing 
the security of the cashier system," Mahdy said.

It's tragic when the most vulnerable in society are preyed on by a 
caregiver, said Richard Van Dine, a spokesman for Community Living 
Ontario, an advocacy group working with people with intellectual disabilities.

The investigation is continuing.
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