Accountant stole nearly $1M from TV show, fled to Mexico, lawsuit says

VANCOUVER — It was May 15, Marc Borja’s last day at work at the Vancouver TV production company where he had worked for two seasons and he was pushed for time to tie up loose ends.

His nine-month contract had ended May 2 but he continued to work at Reunion MITHC 2 Productions, without pay, so he could wrap some things up. That day it was getting late and he had a plane to catch for his vacation in Mexico.

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“Borja still had several unfinished tasks on his desk when he left that evening,” according to a lawsuit filed against the 53-year-old Vancouver accountant, accusing him of stealing almost $1 million from his employer. “His colleagues rushed him out of the office, so that he would not miss his flight.”

One of his colleagues gathered Borja’s papers to review and tidy up when she got home. According to the company’s claim, she started noticing irregularities but knew Borja had taken coding shortcuts and thought there would be a simple explanation.

But when she and another employee looked more closely at Borja’s work about two weeks later, they found suspicious vendor reports and deposits made to Borja’s personal numbered company, the lawsuit says. They found his phone number had been disconnected and his Facebook account had disappeared.

The company’s investigation “revealed that Borja had been writing numerous unauthorized cheques to his own personal numbered company … and to two men he was romantically involved with,” the suit says.

Reunion MITHC 2 Productions filed a lawsuit alleging Borja forged signatures on 44 company cheques totalling $912,665.58.

No claim has been proven in court.

The company, owned by Vancouver-based Reunion Pacific Entertainment, produced the TV series The Man in the High Castle. It is suing for alleged misappropriated funds, damages and punitive damages.

The notice of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court claims that cheques written to Borja’s company totalled $653,839.68, with one of the men he was allegedly involved with, Harry Sutherland, getting $59,100.90 and the second man, Erik Hers, getting $199,725.

It also alleged the two men “knowingly” received stolen money.

Borja fiddled the books to “conceal his fraudulent transactions” by altering names and addresses of vendors he was supposedly paying with codes so they wouldn’t show up on the cost reports, the company claimed.

The company also applied to immediately freeze the accounts of the three men and Borja’s company.

A statement of defence, which must be filed within three to seven weeks, depending on where the defendants live, has not been filed. The company also has filed a complaint with the RCMP against the three men.

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