Cop accused of covering up kidnapping

May 1, 2012 - All News

A Toronto police officer allegedly conducted a sham kidnapping investigation to protect those he suspected were involved, an Ontario Superior Court jury has heard.
Prosecutors opened their case Monday against Toronto police Const. Ioan-Florin (John) Floria, who has pleaded not guilty to six charges, including breach of trust, accessory after the fact to kidnapping, attempt to obstruct justice and money laundering.
Several of the charges stem from the actions or “inactions” of the veteran Toronto police officer in relation to two unrelated kidnappings, Crown attorney James Palangio told jurors.
The first alleged kidnapping happened Nov. 16, 2005. The victim, Simion Ternar, was working at a marijuana grow-op tending plants when he was kidnapped leaving a gym in Toronto’s east-end. He was tortured for 24 hours and released after a $200,000 ransom was paid.
Ternar contacted Floria, who was from the same hometown in Romania, Palangio said.
The Crown alleges Floria, who joined the Toronto Police Service in 1998, told Ternar not to report the crime nor seek medical attention because the police might be involved. He also misleadingly told Ternar he would conduct an investigation into the kidnapping, Palangio said.
At some point, Floria asked Ternar if he thought Stefan Karpacs was involved. Ternar said no, though he was aware he was the head of a criminal organization and close friend of the officer’s, the prosecutor said.
“At a minimum he should have suspected and perhaps even known his friends were involved,” said Palangio, adding Floria derailed the investigation out of a “sense of loyalty.”
A year later, Ternar contacted a lawyer, who instructed him to go to the Toronto Police professional standards office and report what happened, the Crown attorney said.
The kidnapping remains unsolved.
About five weeks after the first kidnapping, a couple attending a party at a northwest Toronto restaurant were thrown into a van, whisked away and beaten.
A witness who knew Floria contacted him and told him what happened. Floria told him to call police but did not report the matter himself, Palangio said.
Coincidentally, Floria was enlisted to help investigators on the case interpret text messages in Romanian. Floria advised he was aware of the incident because he was told about it the previous day. The lead investigator “was surprised to say the least,” Palangio said.
The victims were released with serious injuries. Two men have been convicted in the kidnapping and given lengthy prison terms.
The Crown also alleges Floria laundered $50,000 U.S. for a friend that he knew came from the drug trade and made unauthorized use of a police computer database. Floria, who worked in 21 and 22 divisions before traffic services, was charged in July 2007.
— Torstar News Service