There was a time when Bill Majcher was a community-minded guy coaching hockey and baseball while serving as a school trustee for what was then Richmond’s Non-Partisan Association.
That was in the 1990s when Majcher was in his 20s.
He got involved in politics after being encouraged by a parent to seek a seat on the school board, where growing enrolment from Asia, the need for more portables and new schools were becoming hot topics.
It was not a full-time job for Majcher, and one that didn’t last long because of what he was doing before and after school board meetings: he was working undercover as an RCMP officer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he posed as a drug user.
Majcher, who had a thin build, a beard and long hair at the time, resigned from the school board in 1991; it was not lost on him or his bosses that board meetings were televised via community cable.
“A lot of people put a lot of effort and time into making these projects go, and I didn't want to be the Achilles heel that exposed myself or the project,” he told the Vancouver Courier in 2005 for a feature story about police undercover operators.
'Identify and intimidate an individual'
Nearly two decades later, Majcher, 60, is believed to be in custody somewhere in Vancouver after the force he left in 2007 arrested him last week for allegedly using “his knowledge and his extensive network of contacts in Canada to obtain intelligence or services to benefit the People's Republic of China.”
A statement from the RCMP in Quebec said Majcher is charged under the Security of Information Act on the following counts: preparatory acts for the benefit of a foreign entity and conspiracy.
“The Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) launched an investigation in fall 2021 regarding William Majcher's suspicious activities,” the statement said. “It is alleged that he contributed to the Chinese government's efforts to identify and intimidate an individual outside the scope of Canadian law.”
Glacier Media contacted the RCMP in Quebec Monday to seek more details on the case, including the connection to Quebec and whether the individual in question is a Canadian citizen.
Majcher, who had been living in Hong Kong with his family, is scheduled to appear July 25 at the Longueuil, Que., courthouse. It’s not clear where Majcher is being held in Vancouver or if he has been or will be transferred to Quebec.
Cpl. Tasha Adams of the RCMP’s communications office in Westmount, Que., said in an email Monday that police will respond to Glacier Media’s questions before the end of day tomorrow.
The Nova Scotia-born Majcher, whose father served in the navy and became a NATO representative for Canada, worked as a bond trader in London before he joined the Mounties in 1985.
Five years later, he was buying heroin and cocaine in the Downtown Eastside.
At the time, the RCMP and Vancouver police had an amalgamated drug squad, allowing constables like Majcher to get a first-hand feel for drug work in the city.
“I really got my eyes opened to the realities and the dangers of policing in the Downtown Eastside,” he told the Courier in 2005. “I look back and I think a lot of the foundation for my undercover career was developed working with the Vancouver police.”
Dubbed Project Norway, Majcher worked long hours buying heroin from dozens of dealers. His act seemed to work, although one dealer believed Majcher might be a police informant and sucker punched him as he walked out of the Columbia Hotel.
His cover team was about to move in, but Majcher shoved the dealer and shouted at him until they both carried on down the street.
“I just bought heroin in the Columbia, and I walk out into a fist,” he said. “It could have easily been a bat or a knife. When you're dealing with that culture, the dealers are fairly low end, but the work is high-risk because the people who live in that environment live by the sword and die by the sword.”
The success of Project Norway, which led to the arrests of 120 people, was the beginning of a bright future for Majcher. His skills would see him work undercover in more drug cases, homicide investigations and dangerous organized crime probes.
His work took him across the country, into the United States, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. He once posed as a frontman for a Colombian drug cartel in a money laundering probe that landed former Vancouver lawyer Martin Chambers in jail.
Majcher worked in Miami off and on for more than two years. To relieve tension, he would take long walks and read to keep his body and mind sharp.
The RCMP has a set of “checks and balances,” including psychological testing to scrutinize undercover officers' behaviour. Despite the roles he played, Majcher said he never lost sight of his job or who he was.
“At all times, I knew I was a police officer,” he said. “At all times, I knew this person wasn't my friend, but a criminal.”
'I can deal with it'
That thought was certainly on Majcher's mind when he was grilled by Chambers and his associates in a hotel room. The meeting wasn't planned, leaving Majcher without his cover team.
“My initial thought was, 'If things go bad, how do I get out of here?'” he said. “Then I just fell back on my training, my experience. I've always found once I start talking, and get into a rhythm, I can deal with it.”
In another close call, an FBI agent posing as the captain of a yacht told Majcher that “you Canadian guys don't know how to drink.” Chambers and his associates thought Majcher was American.
"All of a sudden they're looking at me, demanding an explanation,” he said. “And here we are with $200,000 cash and a money counter on the table, and then I've got to start quickly talking about what he meant by that."
Majcher talked himself out of that situation, too. He told them his father was in the military, that Majcher was born in Canada, but grew up in America.
His stories paid off.
Chambers, whom police say agreed to launder up to US$26 million per year, was sentenced in December 2003 to 15 years and eight months in jail.
Florida trial judge
In 2012, Chambers alleged that the Florida trial judge in his case — Ursula Ungaro — was having an affair with Majcherat the time.
In documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Chambers claimed the judge's ex-husband came forward and said Ungaroadmitted to committing adultery with Majcher, according to a CBC report.
Chambers also alleged Majcher and Ungaro discussed the case prior to sentencing over dinner at a Miami restaurant. The documents alleged that Majcher admitted to the affair, but claimed it occurred after Chambers was sentenced.
Along the way, there were also media reports that Majcher was considering a movie deal with stock promoter KevanGarner, a man he helped send to prison in a sting operation.
Glacier Media made unsuccessful attempts Monday to reach Majcher via contact information he used both during his policing career and consultant work, which included phone numbers in Montreal and New York.
When Majcher left the Mounties in 2007, he had earlier been suspended with pay for undisclosed reasons as the inspector in charge of the Integrated Market Enforcement Team, which was located on the 22nd floor of a highrise at Homer and Georgia streets.
In between being suspended and leaving the force, Majcher made an unsuccessful attempt to return to politics and become a federal Conservative candidate in Richmond. He then combined his law enforcement experience and market expertise to work as an international consultant.
His LinkedIn profile and other sources on the internet, including his keynote speaker appearances at events such as PCI Security Standards Council, list him as the co-founder of EMIDR Limited.
The company is described as a specialized corporate risk advisory firm focused on asset recovery and cyber security. EMIDR works closely with various governments concerned with cyber security, financial crime, money laundering and tax evasion.
RCMP have not said in what capacity Majcher was representing himself, or what company he was attached to when their investigation occurred.
In 2017, Majcher swore an affidavit in the Supreme Court of Canada connected to a civil case he was involved in that included resorts and lawyers.
In the affidavit, he described his post-RCMP work as assisting several government agencies on matters related to UN sanctions pertaining to development of nuclear weapons, the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, government kleptocracy and money laundering.