A Dawson City resident and former Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) staffer has been charged in Alberta for allegedly embezzling nearly $20,000 in emergency funds earmarked to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The accused, 39-year-old Melissa Jensen Webb, purportedly obtained the funds between April 2020 and January 2021 through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). At the time, she was employed full-time with the CRA in Alberta.
The provincial financial crime team has charged Jensen Webb with six offences, including fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime, mischief with computer data and unauthorized use of a computer to commit fraud.
According to an Alberta RCMP press release, a warrant was issued for the accused’s arrests in July following a “comprehensive investigation.”
“The act of accessing and altering data on any internal database is an extreme abuse of one’s position. By manipulating these systems, the accused personally benefitted from fraudulent payments,” Sgt. John Lamming of the provincial financial crime team said in the release.
CERB was intended to support Canadians whose employment situation was directly impacted by COVID-19, such as chefs and service staff laid off when restaurants limited their services. Eligible individuals could have received $2,000 for a four-week period.
Meanwhile, CRCB aimed to financially assist people whose income was negatively impacted while caring for a family member during the pandemic.
The accused is scheduled to appear in Stony Plain Provincial Court on Sept. 20.
Contact Matthew Bossons at firstname.lastname@example.org