Fleurimont Hospital in Sherbrooke: A $1.3 million fraud foiled by Quebec

Quebec will finally be able to recover the $ 1.

Fleurimont Hospital in Sherbrooke: A $1.3 million fraud foiled by Quebec

Quebec will finally be able to recover the $ 1.3 million that fraudsters stole from it this summer by hacking the bank data of a contractor with whom it was doing business for the expansion of a hospital in Sherbrooke.

This is what Judge Alicia Soldevila of the Superior Court ordered in her decision rendered on December 28 in favor of the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI).

In 2021, Entreprises Eric Dostie, an entrepreneur from Sherbrooke, had obtained contracts totaling $ 17 million as part of the redevelopment of the mother-child center of the Fleurimont Hospital, located in the same city.

In all, the project is valued at $343.4 million. According to the latest estimates, it should end in 2024.

Last summer, while the contractor was in the middle of the works, his computer system was hacked.

Using a fraudulent email address, the hackers were then able to communicate on behalf of Entreprises Dostie with the SQI, responsible for making payments for the site.

The fraudsters asked the state-owned company to modify the bank details so that the payments are transferred directly to their account, mentioned in an affidavit the director general of financial management of the SQI, Paolo Houle.

The funds were then diverted to the account of the company Jean Veuilleux Inc. However, it is a fraudulent identity that has no legal existence in Quebec or Canada.

In July and August, the SQI made four payments into Jean Veuilleux's account for a total of nearly $1.4 million, we can learn from a series of judgments rendered by the Superior Court in which the state-owned company tried to find the lost funds.

Stratagem foiled

During the last payment on August 30, Les Entreprises Dostie mentioned to the SQI that it had not received any payments since June.

"From this moment, the SQI and Dostie understand the scheme and the fraud which seems to originate from the hacking of the Dostie system", indicated Judge Soldevila this fall.

The fraudulent bank account, which was hosted by TD Bank, was then immediately frozen. The individual behind this account was only able to withdraw $5,000 before it was suspended.

There followed a series of legal proceedings aimed at locating the fraudster, whose only clues to his identity were in the information provided to the financial institution to open the bank account.

However, a bailiff confirmed that Jean Veuilleux did not reside at the address in Alberta appearing on the TD Bank account. The email address used to open the account was also no longer valid.

Judge Alicia Soldevila of the Superior Court therefore ordered TD Bank to return to the SQI the amount remaining in the account in question, i.e. almost all of the funds defrauded to the State.