Credit Card Fraud Discovered at The CSBC

Montreal Police and Bank Investigating

Several cases of fraud have been reported on three separate credit cards belonging to the Concordia Student Broadcasting Corporation throughout October, November and December of 2012.

The three compromised cards belonged to former Concordia University Television Station Manager Laura Kneale, former CSBC President and current The Link’s board of directors President Justin Giovannetti and current CJLO Station Manager Stephanie Saretsky.

Neither Kneale nor Giovannetti work for CUTV or CSBC anymore, having resigned from their positions in June and November of last year, respectively.

The total defrauded amount is currently pegged at $862.93, though that number could change once January’s expected credit statements come in. Each card has a limit of $1,000.

The largest fraudulent transaction is billed to Giovannetti’s card for a sum of $697.61 between Nov. 28 and Dec. 27 for a series of purchases at Coach Canada, as well as one large online grocery purchase.

Though the fraud won’t harm the corporation or jeopardize any of its finances, and though all the money has been reimbursed, CSBC President Angelica Calcagnile ensures that the issue is being taken seriously.

“The bank acted swiftly on their end; they credited those expenses back to our account, they canceled the credit cards, and so no damage was done to the corporation in regards to that fraud,” said Calcagnile. “It appears that they are currently investigating.

“On our end, we’ve filed a report with the Montreal police, and we’ve decided to formalize our support for those third party investigations.”

The reports of fraud came as a surprise to CSBC Treasurer Patrice Blais, who says that when Giovannetti and Kneale left their positions, the Royal Bank of Canada was contacted to cancel the cards.

After doing so, the CSBC stopped receiving credit statements for their cards.

On Jan. 8, Blais was informed by CUTV Treasurer Julian Ward, a former The Link news editor, that credit card statements had shown up at the station.

“The statements were being sent by error to CUTV,” said Blais. “I don’t know when or how, but I assume it was a mistake.”

On Jan. 10 Blais contacted RBC again to confirm the cancellation of the credit cards, but was told that in order to cancel them, the balances needed to be at zero.

“I had a phone conversation [with RBC] during which we looked and discovered that there had been fraudulent transactions,” said Blais.

A conversation with VISA’s fraud department confirmed that the behavior was indeed fraud. The cards were immediately canceled and the money was reimbursed to the CSBC.

Calcagnile added that as it stands, neither the police or the bank seem very interested in pursuing the issue much further because of the relatively small amount of money that was stolen, and because little harm was done to the corporation.

“Ultimately, to some degree our board is going to be guided by their expertise,” she said. “If at a certain point they say, ‘this is the conclusion that we’ve come to, and this is what it is,’ I’m not sure what else can be done.”

The CSBC is the umbrella organization that oversees both CJLO and CUTV, though in June of last year a transitional agreement was set in motion that would see all of CUTV’s assets and management transferred to a new and independent not-for-profit organization.

That transition is ongoing.