Three Ontario women have been charged with fraud in Canada for allegedly pretending to be indigenous in order to receive benefits. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Iqaluit charged Karima Manji and her two adopted twin daughters, Amira and Nadya Gill, with fraudulent enrollment into the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporation (NTI) beneficiary list. The NTI represents Inuits in the territory and approves applicants for the beneficiary list. The investigation revealed that between October 2016 and September 2022, the three individuals applied for and obtained Inuit beneficiary status. They then defrauded local organizations by obtaining grants and scholarships exclusive to Inuit beneficiaries. For instance, Amira received a $4,000 scholarship from an Ontario utility company and an award for Indigenous students from a major Canadian bank.
The Canadian authorities have scheduled Manji, Amira, and Nadya to appear in court in Iqaluit on October 30, 2023. The NTI initiated an investigation into the potential fraud on March 30, and it is the first case of its kind. Manji claimed that Amira and Nadya were her adopted children and provided the name of an Inuk woman as their birth mother. NTI President Aluki Kotierk has stated that at the very least, the three women should reimburse the money they received. He criticized their actions, stating that they have tried to take away the language, culture, and now the identity of the Inuit community.
Following the NTI’s investigation, the three women were removed from the beneficiary list and reported to law enforcement. The NTI has not immediately commented on the situation, and Manji, Amira, and Nadya have not yet responded to requests for comment.