A family’s LinkedIn posts have been used against them in a case which stripped the (now formerly) Canadian family of their citizenship and gifted them with court costs of $63,000, over and above what they’ve paid to fight the case so far.
“Canadian citizenship is not for sale. The government of Canada is taking steps to revoke citizenship from those who have obtained it fraudulently by misrepresenting their residence in Canada while continuing to live abroad most, or all, of the time. There is no statute of limitation on the revocation of citizenship.”
Nancy Caron, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
According to the National Post, the Houchaime family, formerly of Lebanon, arrived in Canada on August 16th, 2004 and applied for citizenship four years later. In their citizenship documents they wrote that they had spent the vast majority of the intervening time in Canada, only going abroad for a few scattered trips.
Patriarch Boutros Naim Houchaime reportedly claimed to have left the country 15 times for a total of 307 days abroad, leaving 1153 days ostensibly spent in Canada. Jacqueline El-Ksayer, his partner, said she’d taken 7 trips for 133 days, leaving 1327 days she claimed to have spent in her new home.
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration did grant their citizenship applications but, apparently alerted by something after the fact, contacted the government of the United Arab Emirates and requested information on the Houchaimes’ comings and goings. They found that there were relatively few of those, the family having essentially moved to Dubai shortly after landing in Canada.
Mr Houchaime, he of the “1153 days in Canada,” actually spent the vast majority of that time in Dubai. His partner left Canada for Dubai a month after arrival, and remained there as a resident except for some short trips for the rest of that four year period.
What could possibly have alerted the government to the family’s fraud? The government’s not saying what led to the investigation, but there are a few public clues. As they say, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.
Jennifer Houchaime is one of the two daughters who had left Canada with the mother to settle in Dubai. Being a teenager at the time, she naturally developed a social media presence and in this case actually posted her attendance at and graduation from a Dubai high school on her LinkedIn page, which lists her post-secondary studies in Dubai and abroad, and for bonus points lists her residence as UAE.
Ah, it’s always those pesky kids and their social media!
And now it is time to sing the Houchaime family off with a rousing chorus of “Farewell to Nova Scotia.” You’d be surprised how seldom I get to use that song in The Cryptosphere!
Featured photos via Jennifer Houchaime on LinkedIn