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Jail time for former Cultus Lake financial manager

Home page of the Cultus Lake Park website. - www.cultuslake.bc.ca
Home page of the Cultus Lake Park website.
— image credit: www.cultuslake.bc.ca

The former manager of financial services for the Cultus Lake Park Board (CLPB) not only defrauded Simon Fraser University (SFU) but the park board as well.

Siamak Saidi will serve four years in jail for the SFU fraud and one year for defrauding Cultus Lake Park out of more than $10,000.

Saidi pleaded guilty on May 1 to one count of forgery and one count of fraud over $5,000 in connection with his previous employer, Simon Fraser University (SFU).

He received four years in jail for the SFU charges, where Saidi defrauded the school of more than $800,000, using misappropriated funds to buy three properties.

When the charges were first announced in the fall, there was no sign of fraud at the park board office. An external audit, however, discovered that Saidi diverted a Harmonized Sales Tax refund into a trust account he controlled.

In addition to the one year in jail for the CLPB crime, Saidi is ordered to pay $10,447.59 in restitution to the park board.

Saidi was terminated from his SFU job in January 2012 (unrelated to the alleged fraud) and was hired by the CLPB as manager of financial services later that same year.

When the CLPB learned of the charges in August 2013, Saidi was put on leave until further notice.

An internal review of accounts and investments in September found no unauthorized financial transactions. An external audit was then conducted, and that is when the HST fraud was discovered, according to CLPB chair Sacha Peter.

“Given that there was a criminal and civil case, it was not possible at that time to disclose further details until now,” Peter said Monday.

Given the internal look, the external audit, and a year-end audit conducted as “high-risk,” Peter said he is confident they have discovered the extent of Saidi’s crimes.

Saidi was also incorrectly using the designations CA and CMA while employed with the CLPB. The Certified Management Accountants of B.C. (CMABC) ran an ad in the Vancouver Sun in September stating that Siamak Saidi Ltd. is not “entitled to use the designation ‘Chartered Accountant’ or the initials ‘CA’.”

The new manager of financial services for Cultus Lake is Mike Phelan.

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