December 9, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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$4.5 million aid during pandemic: UBER driver sees his accounts frozen

$4.5 million aid during pandemic: UBER driver sees his accounts frozen

A Toronto UBER driver who received $4.5 million in aid during the COVID-19 pandemic has had his bank accounts frozen after his bank raised concerns he was abusing the government’s aid system.

Justice Michael Penney of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in favor of the Bank of Nova Scotia, confirming that it was right to freeze the accounts of Rabih George Barakeh, the Globe and Mail reported.

The driver obtained this money through false declarations and applied for loans from the Most Affected Sectors Credit Program and the Canada Emergency Business Account.

Mr. Barake is said to have requested aid between March and November 2021 for 16 companies that went into liquidation shortly before requesting the loans.

According to the media, as of January 2022, his bank had frozen 13 of his accounts due to debts totaling $4.58 million.

Mr Barake, however, sued the bank in March 2022 for $80 million in damages. But Judge Penney ruled, ordering him to repay all of his debts and pay $1.5 million in punitive damages.

It was one of the few fraud cases brought before the court regarding federal programs distributed to businesses during the health crisis.

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