Immigration interpreter from Durham Region accused of fraud for using unlicensed stand-ins

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Published January 27, 2023 at 4:33 pm

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Toronto Police have arrested an accredited interpreter from Durham Region for allegedly defrauding the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) by having unlicensed people stand in for him in virtual hearings.

Police announced their investigation on Jan. 27. They allege that the interpreter used stand-ins for numerous immigration hearings conducted online from Apr. 2021 to Dec. 2022. The stand-ins used the interpreter’s name and credentials during these hearings, police claim.

Investigators have not identified the people who allegedly impersonated the interpreter. However, police say the unauthorized imposters provided translation services in 130 IRB hearings, defrauding both the IRB and the immigrants.

Additionally, investigators say the interpreter was paid for translation services in the hearings he did not attend.

Gerard Byamungu, 37 of Durham Region, is charged with fraud under $5,000, fraud over $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and possession of property obtained by crime.

Anyone with information pertinent to the investigation can call Toronto police at 416-808-5100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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