Napolean Mercredi is shown in Prince Alberta, Sask. on Friday Feb. 21, 2020. The former Saskatchewan Indigenous leader has been found guilty of pocketing nearly $280,000 of band money. (Nigel Maxwell photo)

Former First Nations chief in northern Saskatchewan convicted of fraud, theft

Prosecutor Darren Howarth said he was pleased with the result

A former Saskatchewan Indigenous leader has been found guilty of pocketing nearly $280,000 of band money.

Napolean Mercredi, who was chief of the Fond Du Lac First Nation from 2009 to 2011, had been charged with fraud, theft over $5,000 and breach of trust.

He was convicted Friday by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gary Meschisnick in Prince Albert, Sask.

“I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime of fraud,” Meschisnick said as he read his decision.

Prosecutor Darren Howarth said he was pleased with the result.

“The message that I hope gets out there is that, if you are a public official and you are using public funds or band funds, that you use the money responsibly and that you be accountable for it,” he said.

During the trial last October, court heard that almost $776,000 was misappropriated during Mercredi’s term.

Friday’s decision reflects money Mercredi personally used to make payments to his credit card and to purchase a new truck.

Meschisnick reserved his decision on whether the remaining money allegedly paid out to band members for social assistance constituted a breach of trust.

Defence lawyer Garth Bendig said the evidence presented during the trial did not support that allegation.

“People came to him directly for assistance and he would provide funds to them for that purpose,” he said.

Sentencing arguments are to be heard May 22 and a pre-sentence report has been ordered that is to include a discussion on Mercredi’s ability to pay back any money.

Mercredi, who is currently unemployed, said he wouldn’t object to a restitution order.

“Restitution would make sense,” he said. “It would make sense for me.”

Howarth said it’s possible he could recommend Mercredi get jail time.

Nigel Maxwell, paNOW, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Spike of bear calls to Conservation Officer Service prompts calls for prevention

‘We want to do everything we can beforehand to reduce conflict,’ said Sgt. Todd Hunter

Pitt Meadows mayor responds to petition to halt development of North Lougheed Study Area

A petition with 628 signatures was put before city council on Tuesday evening

Searching for isolated seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows with music and dance

Seniors outreach team at Ridge Meadows Seniors Society came up with a pop up jukebox

Fraser North Farmers Market moves to online model for summer season amid COVID-19

Customers can order products online and pick up at Golden Meadows Honey Farm on Saturdays

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read