The five enforcement officers with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) face obstruction of justice and fabricate evidence charges for allegedly writing phony tickets to homeless people. The five were fired along with three other enforcement officers.
The announcement of the arrests and firings was made yesterday by both the Toronto Police Service and the TTC. The arrests took place after a four-month investigation by the TTC, aided by the police.
The alleged scam consisted of enforcement officers writing provincial offences tickets to transients for such offences as trespassing, loitering or panhandling. The homeless persons ticketed were known to the employees because they frequently hung out on TTC property. The tickets were never served on the alleged wrongdoers and they were never legally required to pay a fine. Even though the fines were never required to be paid, the TTC has cancelled the offence notices.
The alleged purpose of the scam was to enable the employees to show they were working in a certain area when in fact they were not. CBC quotes Brad Ross, the TTC's executive director of corporate communications, as saying, "They would show up for work, they were in uniform, they would be in their vehicles, but they would not be where they said they were and issued these tickets allegedly with false pretenses."
According to Toronto Police [PDF], five men faces charges of Attempt to Obstruct Justice and Fabricate Evidence. Jan Posthumus, 44, faces three counts of each charge while Michael Schmidt, 44, and Svetomir (Tony) Catic, 45, face two counts each. James Greenbank, 48, and Neil Malik, 38, face a single count of Attempt to Obstruct Justice and Fabricate Evidence. The TTC did not name the three other officers who were fired or give reasons for their firing, other than to say the TTC had just cause to terminate their employment.
As the Toronto Transit Commission employed 40 enforcement officers, the firings represent 20 per cent of the enforcement unit. The National Post reports while enforcement officers usually earn between $60,000 and $70,000 per year, several earned more than $100,000 a year and appeared in Ontario's Sunshine List.
In a media release, TTC CEO Andy Byford said, "I am profoundly disappointed in today's news. The public should have absolute confidence and trust in all that we do. The men and women in uniform who are responsible for the safety and security of our customers must meet a high standard of conduct, and rightly so. When evidence came to light that some had not met that standard, the TTC acted swiftly and decidedly. Integrity, accountability and transparency are critically important to me as the leader of this organization. I want to thank [Toronto Police] Chief Bill Blair for his assistance in helping us bring this matter to a quick resolution."
The TTC has promised to conduct a full review of its internal procedures. The five men who were charged are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 26.