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

Council seeking extension to tax property payment deadline

North Cowichan also moves to virtual meetings as necessary during the COVID-19 crisis

Chemainus & District Baseball Association season on hold due to COVID-19

Shouts of Play Ball! would normally have started being heard next week

Province restricts open burning across much of the Cowichan region

No new fires may be initiated in all high smoke sensitivity zones

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy program to all COVID-19 affected companies: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

Most Read