Ontario Resident Faces $100,000 Fine Following Guilty Plea in Counterfeit Toonie Investigation

   An Ontario man has been slapped with a hefty $100,000 fine after admitting to using and possessing thousands of fake toonies in Canada's banking system.

Richmond Hill resident Daixiong He, aged 68 at the time of his arrest, recently faced the music at the Newmarket Court of Justice. Justice Amit Ghosh laid down the law after He pleaded guilty to the charge of uttering counterfeit money back in December 2022, as confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to CTV News Toronto.

The legal saga started in May 2022 when He was charged as part of a federal investigation into counterfeit currency. This investigation kicked off after the Royal Canadian Mint uncovered an ongoing issue during their routine sampling. The mint's discovery led law enforcement to seize around 10,000 fake toonies that had infiltrated the Canadian banking system.

Despite the potential of a 14-year prison term, Daixiong He caught a break from Justice Amit Ghosh, avoiding incarceration and receiving a $100,000 fine instead.

Efforts to contact He by CTV News Toronto were unsuccessful before publication. However, his lawyer, Thomas Richardson, informed CTV News that the imposed fine equaled the total value of the deposits. Richardson stated, "The fine was calculated to effectively cancel out any benefit gained by Mr. He for having made deposits of the toonies in question."

At the time of He's arrest, authorities anticipated that additional counterfeit coins might still be in circulation within Canada. The fake toonies, believed to originate from China, were identifiable by a distinct flaw – a "split-toe" on the right front paw of the Polar Bear.

James Malizia, Vice-President of Corporate Security at the Royal Canadian Mint, emphasized the unique features of Canada's circulation coins, describing them as among the most secure globally. These distinctive features facilitated the quick identification and removal of the counterfeit pieces from circulation, as highlighted in a statement in 2022.