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Ex-CIC employee charged in passport fraud

TORONTO - A former Citizenship and Immigration Canada employee has been charged with breach of trust after she allegedly helped 22 people fraudulently obtain Canadian passports, the RCMP said Friday.

Aline Zeitoune, 50, of Toronto worked for Passport Canada, a division of CIC.

Zeitoune, who was arrested Thursday, also faces 96 additional charges, the Mounties said.

Four of the 22 people have also been charged with passport offences.

The RCMP said the investigation began in March 2013, when the force was contacted by CIC investigators who suspected one of their employees of processing fraudulent applications.

"We suspect the accused may have been involved in the scheme for financial gain," said Sgt. Richard Rollings, spokesman for the RCMP in Ontario.

"However, this is a very much an ongoing investigation and the exact motivation behind the scheme is still to be determined."

Rollings said he was not in a position to disclose whether or not the remaining 18 people are in Canada.

"We are working with our law enforcement partners in Canada and internationally to locate and arrest any other people associated to this crime," he added.

The breach of trust charge alone can bring a jail term of up to five years, Rollings said.

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