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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

MP for Cariboo-Prince George writes a letter to residents amidst COVID-19

‘Partisan politics have no place in a pandemic,’ writes MP Todd Doherty

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read