Citizens make money in their suitcases and shopping bags for multiple purchases in the city hall to pay taxes, according to two city councilors, including one that says he saw "several times" last year.
Accounts NPA Coun. Melissa De Genova and Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr appeared in the hearing on Tuesday before the Council unanimously approved the long-standing De Genova request that city staff work with the police and government to prevent and prevent money laundering in local businesses and transactions in the city council.
"I've seen this from first hand," De Genova said in the hall. "Maybe we have stories about it from the other hand, but now I've seen it several times and it's worrying me."
De Genova added: "I do not say that all the money that comes to the city of Vancouver is crumbling, crime earnings. However, I think we can certainly deter and prevent or limit at least some types of checks and balances."
Carr told the council that he had not personally seen people bring cash boxes to the city hall, "but I have people who told me they saw people bringing cash boxes to the city hall to pay property taxes."
Carr added, "So when you get such reports … we need to check it out."
Courier talked to both councilors on incidents on Wednesday.
Last July, said De Genova, he saw a man with a black cash bag in the main lobby of the city hall. The man asked her where she could pay "taxes".
"[The money] was packed in a bag, and it was very obvious – I could see it in the bag, she said. "I do not know they even knew I was a city councilor."
A few months ago, she said, she saw another man in the same place with a bag of cash.
"They had a reusable bag – one of those you saw in the store – and it was full of cash," De Genova said. "They did not try to hide everything. I was just surprised at what I saw.
But Genoa was not clear whether both of them were paying property taxes, tax on empty homes, or other business-related or city-related fees.
With tax on empty homes, the city collects one percent of the estimated taxable value of the property if the property is vacant. The city has estimated that it will receive $ 38 million in revenue for the first year of taxation.
Carr said that in the last couple of months he had received reports from two people on two occasions about how people bring their suitcases to the city council to pay property taxes. Asked how citizens know that coffins contain money and that money is used to pay property taxes, Carr said:
"These are anecdotal reports – this is not the formal thing someone wrote to me in the letter, but they absolutely said that they personally saw people bring the coffin to the city hall and draw money to pay property taxes. transferred. "
Melanie Kerr, the city's finance administrator, said in an e-mail that "there is definitely no one in the bag who donates money to the city hall." Kurir continued to ask about shopping bags but did not get the answer before this story was released.
Despite the fact that some Metro Vancouver municipalities do not accept cash payments in their city halls, Vancouver still allows transactions. Municipalities do not need to report suspicious activity to the Financial Transaction Analysis and Reporting Center, which is the Canadian Financial Intelligence Unit. FINTRAC's mandate is to detect, prevent and prevent money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.
Last year, the city revenue department raised more than $ 2 billion for services such as parking permits, statutory fines, business licenses, municipal taxes and taxes collected on behalf of other authorities. Of $ 2 billion, about $ 13 million was made in cash payments.
"For many years we have been encouraging residents to use simplified payment methods, including internet or bank payment, and we continue to explore reducing or removing cash as a way to pay as a risk management tool and increase efficiency. , Kerr said.
Sgt. Jason Robillard, Vancouver Media Relations Officer, said in an email that there were no reports of suspicious payouts in the city hall in the last five years, including reports of attempts to pay cash in the coffin.
But Genova has admitted that property tax accounts do not necessarily require the real estate owners to bring money into a grocery bag or suitcase, but have said they are paying taxes on empty homes and an annual marijuana license in the amount of $ 30,000 may be together.
"Since the tax on empty homes is quite new and those $ 30,000 cannabis retail licenses, it's a bit different from the people who pay twice a year in the city council in cash for their property tax," she said, noting that employees told her some owners do not have bank accounts and pay in cash.
Over the past few years, various media stories and police and government reports have linked real estate, casino gambling, and drug money laundering. A report by the government commissioning "Dirty Money" suggested that over $ 100 million in the province had been burned. Recent police reports estimate that the total amount of dollars in Canada is close to a billion dollars.
De Genova's request requires city staff to take on a number of tasks to prevent and prevent money laundering, including:
- Have staff work directly with the police administration in Vancouver, the State Attorney's Office, and the provincial government to identify a system in which the City of Vancouver can share relevant information with the relevant bodies about money laundering.
- Personnel will review the powers in the Vancouver Charter to require "strict financial reporting" from companies, individuals, corporations, and companies when they pay certain taxes, licenses, and any kind of business or property-related remuneration "that will likely attract money laundering and / or organized crime. "
- Personnel must immediately review and take necessary measures with regard to security protocols and processes related to cash payments and empower personnel to take all necessary security measures in the interest of public security.
- Have staff working with the Vancouver police administration to review the process and methods of payment that the city of Vancouver has accepted.