Abbotsford man sentenced in GST fraud scheme

Paramjit Gill previously testified at the trial of two others who masterminded the plan that raked in $23 million.

An Abbotsford man who pleaded guilty to being involved in a scheme in which $23 million was fraudulently claimed in GST refunds was sentenced Friday to two years less a day in prison.

Paramjit Gill was initially charged with 20 counts of fraud and three counts of laundering the proceeds of crime. He pleaded guilty to three fraud offences, and the other charges were stayed in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Co-accused Manjit Khangura of Abbotsford and Sikander Bath of Mission went to trial on the same charges and were found guilty in December. Gill testified for the Crown at their trial, under a plea agreement.

Khangura was convicted of three fraud charges, and Bath was found guilty of six. They are due to be sentenced at a later date and are next scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 28.

The Crown alleged that Khangura and Bath created 20 false companies purporting to export lumber, shake and shingle products between 1994 and 1997 and fraudulently claimed GST refunds of between $400,000 and $2.4 million each.

It was ruled that 13 of those companies were proved by the Crown to be shams, while there was not enough proof that the other seven were also false.

Gill testified at the trial that he signed incorporation documents and opened bank accounts for three of the false companies – Meadow Forest Products Ltd., Terminal Shake Ltd. and West Bay Shake Ltd. –  as well as conducted numerous banking transactions.

In exchange, he received a percentage of the GST refunds, amounting to about $400,000 in total.

He testified that he did not initially know that the companies were false or that the money was being fraudulently claimed.