A Coaldale, Alberta man has been arrested for fraud after allegedly being one of the central figures in a so-called “gifting” scheme which has taken in about 500 individuals across the province of Alberta.
Gifting schemes have been under the microscope at the Canada Revenue Agency for over a decade, and in all cases, the CRA have rejected these schemes, and denied the donation receipts of the contributors.
While these cases play out in Tax Court, the participants are left to fend for themselves, often accruing penalties and interest which far exceed the amount of their contribution or their tax benefit.
In this specific scheme, Steele Cameron Tolman, 57, was charged with fraud over $5,000 and possession of the proceeds of crime over $5,000. He is scheduled to appear in court in Lethbridge on May 17 to answer LPS charges he is a “main presenter” or “promoter” of a gifting circle fraud which began in September 2018.
These schemes – and this scheme specifically – operate under false pretences, whereby people are recruited by telling them that if they contribute $5,000 they will eventually receive $40,000 with no risk.
The fraud occurs when that $5,000 is used to payout the $40,000 to one of the earlier members which means new members must be recruited in order to continue paying out members.
If this scheme was promoted out of a parking lot, and some guy’s back of their van, they are going to say this scheme was completely ridiculous, however, this was promoted by friends and family who received the $40,000 payout which added additional legitimacy to the scheme.
The fraud is criminal in nature because the recruitment of new members occurs under the false pretense of “no risk. Those who participated and received their $40,000, are in receipt of the proceeds of crime, which is illegal, and those who received their payouts must declare that income to the Canada Revenue Agency.
What is truly amazing is that people who participate in schemes and scams like these can claim that they did so thinking it was legal, and have used that argument in conversations with the police and the CRA.
If you give someone $5,000 and they give you back $40,000 – which seems too good to be true… Means it is too good to be true.
Much in the same way that someone donating $1,000 to a “charity” and receives a tax receipt for a donation of $2500. It’s illegal, and you’re going to get caught and the penalties and interest will far exceed the amount of benefit received.
Be careful with your hard earned money. There are no fast and easy ways to make a buck. Don’t fall for scams and schemes and get left with a tax debt, or worse.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) have charged a quartet of “tax protesters” in Québec with tax fraud, alleging that the 4 operated a scheme which helped over 50 participants evade more than $1 million in federal income tax.
Allegations, not yet proven in court, claim that they advised 50 taxpayers to claim losses totalling more than $19 million in losses, or close to $1.08 million in federal income tax.
Pierre Cardin and Sylvain Quirion of Montreal, Jean-Marc Paquin from Laval, and Contrecoeur resident Guylaine Tremblay were arrested and released with a promise to appear, and court-imposed conditions, the CRA reported.
The CRA used this opportunity to reiterate its warning against getting involved with tax protestors, noting that Canadian courts have consistently rejected these schemes.
“For those involved in tax protester schemes, the CRA will reassess income tax, calculate interest and impose penalties,” the announcement says. “In addition, upon a conviction for tax evasion, the court may impose a fine between 50% and 200% of the tax evaded and a jail term of up to five years.”
Earlier this year, the CRA issued an alert about tax schemes claiming that, “natural people” are not subject to tax laws, because it’s not true.
“Individuals who promote such views are “tax protesters” who not only fail to report their own earnings, but they also try to convince others to engage in these illegal activities,” the CRA said in the alert.
The CRA has always kept an eye on these sorts of schemes and regularly uses the opportunity to promote situations where charges are laid, or where the court charges fraudsters in order to remind Canadians to steer clear of this type of tax evasion.
Recently, the CRA reported that, between 2006 and 2017, 75 promoters had been convicted in connection with these kinds of schemes, resulting in $7.15 million in fines and a total of 936 months of jail time.
If someone is charging you money to teach you how to pay less tax, you might want to steer clear.
If, however, you have taken part in a scam, or scheme, or if you believe that you are a “natural person” and that taxation does not apply to you, please send me an email to info@intaxicating, so we can discuss the very significant consequences which you can face.
I won’t judge you. I’ll listen, and I’ll explain and answer questions.