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How Three Women Managed To Successfully Scam The CRA Out of Millions

On the island of Cape Breton, a group of women – the Saker women, maintained a profitable restaurant and many businesses that specializes in gourmet food. They were a paragon of rural entrepreneurship. What they were primarily focused on cooking? The books.
July 20, 2022

On the island of Cape Breton, a group of women – the Saker women, maintained a profitable restaurant and many businesses that specializes in gourmet food. They were a paragon of rural entrepreneurship. What they were primarily focused on cooking? The books.

So, what exactly is the case of the Saker women?

Angela MacDonald advertised the cookbook Juliette & John: The Perfect Recipe as a wonderful taste of Cape Breton’s culturally diverse landscape when she self-published it in 2014 under the title Juliette & John: The Perfect Recipe. Angela’s Lebanese and Italian grandparents (the titular Juliette and John), as well as her Irish husband, were the sources of inspiration for her recipes, which she wove together into an eclectic collection that includes both tabbouleh and Cape Breton Irish chowder.

Angela has olive skin, long dark hair and wears a fitted black shirt with long sleeves and enormous pearl earrings in her author photo. She also has large pearl earrings. She exudes the bubbly self-assurance of someone who was well-liked in their formative years. In the forward, she explains that the purpose of the book is to take the mystery out of preparing gourmet meals. She argues that “if you take the recipe and break it down into bits, you will discover that the foundations of even the most elaborate meals are based on only a few elements.


” If you do this, you will see that “even the most intricate meals are built on just a few elements.” The name “Elements of CookingTM” was given to these by my sisters and I. Angela assuages the fears of her audience by assuring them that anyone can make a béchamel sauce or blend a pistachio pesto; till it has “a moist sandy texture.” The first step in her recipe for fresh shrimp and spinach ravioli with brown-butter sage requires plating pasta that has already been purchased. The dish is not particularly difficult.

Angela Saker was a member of the Saker family, which was well-known in Cape Breton for the Spaghetti Benders. This was a restaurant that Angela and her two sisters, Nadia Saker and Georgette Young, owned and operated close to Bras d’Or Lake, in a secluded and wooded section of the Trans-Canada Highway, about 30 minutes northwest of Sydney. Angela Saker and her sisters Nadia Saker and Georgette Young. 

The sisters eventually created an ambitious food boutique on the same site, carrying a range of their own products like salad dressings, pesto, and preserves. The restaurant closed in 2010, and the sisters afterward opened the food boutique on the same site. They displayed Angela’s cookbook with pride and provided culinary workshops as well as catering services for gatherings.

It seems as though the Saker sisters exemplified country inventiveness at its finest. They had determined that there was a demand for a variety of food and eating options on this comparatively undeveloped and economically remote island in the country’s far east. 

They had then gotten their hands dirty in order to fulfill that want. Angela mentions in the introduction to her cookbook how the experience of running Spaghetti Benders with her sisters served as a crash course for the various businesses that they went on to create in the future. She states in her writing that throughout their time working together, “we established a beautiful clientele, met many intriguing travelers, and learnt a lot about life, ourselves, and the notions of business and entrepreneurship.”


And so it may have been especially heartwarming for an agent with the Canada Revenue Agency to observe when reviewing the Sakers’ tax returns in 2015, that Angela’s company, which sold salad dressings and her cookbook, had done a staggering $1.5 million in sales in a single month. Angela’s company sold her cookbook as well as salad dressings. 

Even more encouraging is the fact that the sisters’ catering business was thriving and bringing in millions of dollars in revenue. They were moving full pallets of their salad dressings and sauces. The Sakers had created a number of additional businesses, filling voids in the market for things like handmade wigs and children’s fur jackets in Cape Breton.

When does the story take a shocking twist?

It was stated that four women and ten companies they controlled made a total of $56 million in sales. On Thursday, four women from Cape Breton who were convicted of attempting to defraud the government out of millions of dollars through a tax scheme made a last-ditch effort to explain their actions.

But it was too little, too late, as Lydia Saker and her daughters Nadia Saker, Angela MacDonald, and Georgette Young were all sentenced to between two and four years in prison. The women requested additional time from Justice Robin Gogan of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia at the beginning of their hearing so that they may consult with a family physician and go over medical records that date back several decades.


Young said in front of the judge that “we believe she will diagnose us with post-traumatic stress disorder and that there will be a connection to the crimes.” “[It will] make a strong statement.” Gogan acknowledged the documents and accepted that the ladies had a shared history of experiencing domestic violence; nonetheless, he stated that their claims of PTSD could not be used as an excuse to lessen their level of guilt for the crimes. Gogan compared the women’s operations to a close-knit criminal family in which every member participated in the plot, albeit some more prominently than others, despite the fact that everyone was participating.

According to Gogan, “the Crown has characterized the offenses as a persistent and rising assault on the monies provided by the Canadian taxpayers, and I concur with that characterization.” Gogan claimed that the women had multiple opportunities to put a stop to the plot but chose not to do so. According to Gogan, there was neither an expression of regret nor an acknowledgment of responsibility on their part.

Cookbooks, salad dressing, frozen dinners, and children’s fur coats were among the things that the ladies and the ten firms they controlled claimed to have sold for a total of $56 million during the period of four and a half years. When auditors from the Canada Revenue Agency arrived to inspect the business, they discovered very little documentation of those sales.

According to the CRA, the women were exaggerating their numbers and operating expenses in order to earn bigger GST and HST refunds. This was done in order to defraud the government agencies. The women were given refunds that amounted to a total of $275,000. However, as CRA examiners got suspicious of them, they were not given another three million dollars. That entire sum of money was never brought back.

Sentenced in Prison

The matriarch of the Saker family, Lydia Saker, was sentenced to two years in prison, while her daughters Nadia Saker and MacDonald were each given a sentence of three years. The defendant, Georgette Young, who justified her family by claiming that they were just “housewives who make cupcakes,” was given a four-year term for her crime.

The women are looking at the possibility of serving time in jail as well as paying hefty fines. It was decided that Young should pay $2 million, MacDonald should pay $961,100, Lydia Saker should pay $335,000, and Nadia Saker should pay $493,000.

Prosecutor Mark Donohue stated that the Crown will demand regular payments when the women are released from custody. Still, he also stated that it is unlikely that the total amount of the fines will be paid. In spite of the judge’s warning that they should seek the advice of an attorney, Lydia Saker, and her daughters spent a total of six weeks representing themselves in court. According to Gogan, the women not only made fun of the tax system in Canada but also demonstrated the weaknesses that exist inside it.

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Key Takeaways!

“The Saker sisters appeared to be a paragon of rural ingenuity, upstanding members of the community and principled businesswomen,” In actuality, they were con artists who defrauded the government of Canada while simultaneously duping the general population by giving the impression that their food businesses were successful and taking some measure of social responsibility. 

During the course of their trial, not even the judge was able to control the impulse to reply in kind.

In her decision, she stated that it was obvious that the Saker sisters and their mother were not making any cupcakes at the time in question. She said that “what was being baked here was a hoax of epic portions, produced with equal measure of duplicity, hubris, gall, and immensely misplaced inventiveness.” “What was being baked here was a swindle of epic portions.” “It is my sincere desire that the general population of Canada will never have to be exposed to another recipe of this nature ever again.”

Sources & Attribution

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