Vancouver Inspector Suspected in Changing Racetrack Worker Documents — Report

Posted on: August 25, 2019, 07:30h. 

Last updated on: August 25, 2019, 12:52h.

British Columbia authorities are investigating a Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch (GPEB) employee for his role in allegedly altering employment documents of 25 or more foreign workers at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse. The workers were arrested last week following a raid at the Canadian venue, news reports reveal.

Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver often attracts a stylish audience for races. But an inquiry by British Columbia officials has led to the apprehension of track illegal workers, originally from Mexico, after work documents were allegedly altered. (Image: Andrew Chin/Vancouver Free Press)

The Toronto Globe and Mail reported investigators claim the unnamed GPEB inspector misrepresented job titles and switched photos on dozens of work documents. The inspector was based in the branch office at the Hastings Racecourse.

The inquiry has already led to the arrest Monday of the workers, who were originally from Mexico. An unspecified number of them allegedly paid between Can$600 and Can$1,000 to get the falsified work documents.

The inspector allegedly changed the documents so that the workers were identified as horse owners. Under that classification, job applicants do not have to meet stricter requirements for work permits, the newspaper said.

Later, the GPEB inspector is suspected of going online and then altering the job classification back to a role they would do at the track, the report adds. One example is a groom.

The inspector has not been charged or named publicly. But the employee currently does not have access to any GPEB offices or government systems, reports said.

The Province also reported on Saturday that neither the Vancouver Police nor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were involved in the inquiry.

It appears some or possibly all the workers involved in the incident were hired by trainers. They worked in the backstretch — where racehorses are kept in stables.

They do not work for Hastings Racecourse. But the are employed by trainers, or maybe owners of the horses.

Workers Defended

Some in Canada have come to the defense of the workers. “The only offense they committed was working without a work permit, which they thought they were alright doing, given they got the license from the GPEB official,” David Millburn, president of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of British Columbia, was quoted by the Global News B.C.

At a hearing, some of the workers were ordered to leave Canada. They will likely return to Mexico.

The arrested groomers at the track were paid about $75 a day, based on a CBC news report. They resided in employee housing at the racetrack.

Beyond a groom, typically, each horse has a trainer, an exercise rider, and a walker, according to the Vancouver Sun. Several hundred horses are kept in the track’s stables during racing season.

Also, one trainer at the track was “implicated” in the inquiry, special constable Steve Gregoris, the lead investigator for the gaming branch, was quoted by The Province.

Gregoris “received information that a trainer at the racecourse paid $1,500 for two Mexicans to be registered and that they suspect the … inspector is receiving remuneration for the fraud,” The Province quoted a document connected with the investigation.

British Columbia Attorney General David Eby began an inquiry on the incident after receiving a complaint last October.

British Columbia Investigates Money Laundering

Elsewhere in British Columbia, authorities launched an investigation last May into how casinos became a “dirty money” laundromat for criminals.

The provincial government’s Expert Panel on Money Laundering in B.C. Real Estate suspects about $7 billion was laundered through the province’s casinos and real-estate market last year.

Last November, a criminal case against a British Columbia company that police allege was a front for an underground bank that laundered drug money through the province’s casinos. It then apparently collapsed.