Allen Gelberg, a former director of the Collaboration Centre at MaRS, is facing 11 charges in a Toronto police fraud investigation.
According to CBC News, Gelberg defrauded MaRS and external service providers of over $970,000.
Gelberg is charged with eight counts of fraud over $5,000, defrauding the public over $5,000, possession of the proceeds of crime, and laundering proceeds of crime.
Gelberg allegedly hosted events through MaRS using outside catering, rentals, and service staff, and tacked on additional fees that were siphoned through Rediscover Niagara, of which Gelberg was a registered owner.
In November 2014, MaRS became aware from an external source that it might not be getting all the funds from its events and catering, said Karen Greve Young, vice-president of partnerships at MaRS. MaRS suspended Gelberg immediately and he resigned.
Karen Greve Young, vice-president of partnerships at MaRS, said the hub wasn’t aware of the fraud because it wasn’t passing through its books.
Greve Young added that the money was unrelated to government funding. While MaRS receives nearly half of its operating funds from the government, the Collaboration Centre event spaces are outside of that. MaRS is now working with its insurance firm to recover some of the money, and has implemented a “whistleblower line” to avoid similar incidents in the future.