Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Liberal candidate Jim Curran, fraud charges

Updated
Potential Liberal candidate charged with fraud
Apr. 18 2007 CTV.ca News Staff

A potential candidate for the federal Liberal party in Niagara Falls, Ont. has been arrested on fraud charges -- leaving the party scrambling for a replacement.

James Curran, 42, who serves as the president of the Niagara Falls Federal Liberal Riding Association, was supposed to be named as the party's candidate today at a nomination meeting.

Instead, the longtime party worker was arrested Tuesday at his real estate office, reports the Hamilton Spectator.

Curran is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 for an alleged 'cheque-kiting' scheme at two Niagara Falls banks.

Cheque-kiting is a fraudulent act that exploits the float time that banks give users between the deposit of a cheque and its clearance by the bank.

Often, fraudsters set up two separate accounts at two different banks and deposit back and forth between both institutions.

The kiter first deposits a cheque to himself from Bank A into Bank B so that money becomes available at Bank B. Then, the following day, the kiter writes a cheque from Bank B and puts it in Bank A. As a result, the scam shows artificial funds allowing the initial cheque to clear.

Niagara police allege that Curran was involved in cheque-kiting $15,000 to $20,000 between two banks, The Spectator reported.

Curran has been under investigation since a complaint was lodged back in February, police confirmed.

Liberal party official Nithy Ananth said the nomination meeting will likely be cancelled since candidates cannot be named if they are facing criminal charges.

Curran, who was released from custody, was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

He is set to appear in a St. Catharines court on May 31.


update:
Potential Liberal candidate charged with fraud
April 18, 2007 The Hamilton Spectator

The federal Liberal party has been left scrambling after its candidate for a potential election was charged with two counts of fraud in connection with an alleged cheque-kiting scheme.

James Curran, 42, who is also president of the Niagara Falls Federal Liberal Riding Association, was to be acclaimed the party's candidate tonight at a nomination meeting.

But Curran announced last night he would not be seeking the nomination.

"I expect to be fully vindicated in this matter," Curran said in an e-mail sent to The Niagara Falls Review.

He said he dropped out "for the sake of my family, the party and our members."

The local riding association has postponed the nomination meeting.

The longtime party worker, who runs a online blog called "What do I know Grit," was arrested yesterday afternoon at his Portage Road real estate office and charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000.

It's alleged cheque-kiting took place between $15,000 and $20,000 between two Niagara Falls banks. The RCMP say cheque-kiting is a fraudulent act whereby cash is recorded in more than one bank account, but in reality, the cash is either non-existent or is in transit.

Detective Constable Tracey McCabe, who headed the Niagara police investigation, would not identify the two banks. She said her probe began when a complaint was made to police in February.

Liberal party official Nithy Ananth said the party's Toronto office began getting calls mid-afternoon yesterday from Niagara Liberals that Curran had been arrested.

Niagara Falls is held by Conservative Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Curran was released from the Niagara Falls police station on a promise to appear in court notice.

He is set to appear in St. Catharines court May 31.

update:
Liberal faces fraud charges on eve of nomination
JENNIFER PELLEGRINI; COREY LAROCQUE
NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW - Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Prominent local Liberal Jim Curran announced he will not run for Parliament, just hours after Niagara Regional Police charged him with two counts of fraud Tuesday.

The NRP's fraud unit arrested Curran, 42, a Niagara Falls realtor, following a two-month investigation, according to a police statement issued Tuesday.

"I expect to be fully vindicated in this matter," Curran wrote in an e-mail sent to The Review under the subject line: "My statement."

Curran's decision to step down means the local riding association for the federal Liberal party has postponed the nomination meeting, which had been scheduled for tonight.

Curran was uncontested in seeking the nomination.

Dropping out of the race was "the most difficult decision I have ever had to make," Curran wrote in his e-mail message.

He said he dropped out "for the sake of my family, the party and our members."

At his office Tuesday evening, Curran was visibly shaken sitting at his desk, dressed in a blue shirt and striped tie. His face was tear-stained and his voice shook as he gave short answers to a reporter's questions.

"I'm not going to comment. I can't and I so much want to," he said. Curran planned to seek the Liberal nomination to run in the next federal election. That nomination meeting was scheduled to take place tonight at a Portage Road banquet hall.

Curran asked to withdraw his name Tuesday, about 24 hours before the meeting, a Liberal spokesman said. A new nomination meeting will have to be scheduled, he said.

The arrest occurred at about 1:30 p.m., according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the NRP's fraud unit in Niagara Falls. The arrest occurred at 4383 Portage Rd., police spokesman Const. Sal Basilone told The Review. Curran's real estate office is located at that address.

Police began an investigation in February into what they called a "cheque-kiting scheme" against two local financial institutions.

Police say cheque-kiting is when cheques are passed between two or more financial institutions that results in the acquisition of unauthorized credit from one or more of the institutions. The unauthorized credit is received during the time it takes the cheques to clear.

Police took Curran to the NRP's Morrison Street detachment. He was charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and released on a promise to appear in court May 31 in St. Catharines.

Curran announced in February he wanted to be the Liberal candidate in the Niagara Falls riding, which includes Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie. Before seeking the nomination, Curran had been the president of the Niagara Falls federal Liberal riding association. He also is the writer of a weblog - an online journal - that discusses national political issues.

Liberals in Niagara Falls said they were surprised by the news when The Review contacted them.

"I don't know anything about it. I'm not going to speculate on what could happen," said a Liberal from the Niagara-on-the-Lake part of the riding.


Liberal candidate bows out after fraud charges
COREY LAROCQUE and JENNIFER PELLEGRINI
NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW - Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Prominent local Liberal Jim Curran announced he will not run for Parliament, just hours after Niagara Regional Police charged him with two counts of fraud Tuesday.

The NRP¹s fraud unit arrested Curran, 42, a Niagara Falls realtor, following a two-month investigation, according to a police statement issued Tuesday.

"I expect to be fully vindicated in this matter," Curran wrote in an e-mail sent to The Review under the subject line: "my statement."

Curran's decision to step down means the local riding association for the federal Liberal party has postponed the nomination meeting scheduled for tonight. He was uncontested in his nomination.

8 comments:

leftdog said...

It is a good thing that he took himself out of the race.

In the BC case last year, where the Tory candidate was arrested for booze smuggling, his party leader, Stephen Harper took him out of the race - which was a good thing - the actions of that candidate hurt his own party because the Conservatives did not have time to run another person.

Leaders need to move quickly when things things arise.

This just reminds me what Churchill said about politics - 'it attracts the absolute best of people while at the same time it attracts the absolute worst of people'.

Good post!

Scott Tribe said...

Let's just remember that he's innocent till proven guilty.

Blogging Horse said...

What's the matter with those pesky police anyway, don't they realize the Liberals are having a horrible week? GOSH!

Fortunately, under the terms of the "Axis of Ego" pact, in the event that the Liberal candidate is unable to fulfil his duties, the Green candidate can step in and take his place.

James Bowie said...

Your post sucks. It contains no commentary, insight, or new information. I suppose you don't have any.

It is just a regurgitation of news items.

It is also a direct contradiction of your subtitle.

audacious said...

james, i put update because i added to my original post.

go back to your corner.

James Curran said...

I've come to expect more from you. You might have dropped me a line. There are many facts that are incorrect in these reports...the least of which, I had stepped down as president over 2 months ago. Another smear there to there to the riding association.

I look forward to your post when these charges are dropped. Unlike the Conservative candidate's charges, evidence to convict someone appears to be negligent at best.

audacious said...

james, had i known your email address, i would have contacted you ... ; i did go to your blog and it had vanished.

however, i 'just' posted news articles i had seen or that others had directed me to; i never modified the articles or gave any commentary on them.

and if i happen to miss an update in the news, if you wish, send me a message, and i will post it.

James Curran said...

"Once we know people's stories, we feel compassion instead of judgment, remember everyone has a story."

I remember reading that somewhere.