Montreal -- An ultra-orthodox Jewish sect whose members fled Canada has been dodging the taxman for years, the Canada Revenue Agency says.
The tax agency alleges the Lev Tahor group used charities to evade $4.4 million in Quebec taxes, according to Federal Court documents obtained by QMI Agency.
About 200 members of the sect fled to Guatemala from Chatham, Ont., earlier this year amid allegations of child abuse north of Montreal, where they were based for years.
The Canada Revenue Agency has its eyes on Congregation Riminov, the group's Quebec-based charity.
Congregation Riminov didn't provide documentation the tax agency requested in a 2007 audit, court documents say.
The tax agency alleges the charity conducted real estate transactions that had nothing to do with its spiritual vocation. It says Lev Tahor swapped land north of Montreal for no purpose other than to make a profit.
"The very fact that Congregation Riminov was involved in commercial activities (unrelated to its purpose), shows that its registration (as a charitable organization) was used to evade taxes," the agency alleged as it sought a freeze on some of the group's assets.
QMI Agency has previously reported the tax agency secured $4.4 million in liens on 34 properties that belonged to Congregation Riminov.
Tax authorities were concerned the money from the sale of the properties would be stashed overseas and become more difficult to recover.
The tax agency also says some tax documents have been forged, including donation receipts.
Congregation Riminov's accountant wasn't immediately available for comment.
Quebec provincial police suspect Lev Tahor engaged in human trafficking, as well as forgery.
So far no one has been charged.
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