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

Kettle Valley Steam Railway cancels Easter trains

Decision comes as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

Kelowna author raising money for scholarships

Roxi Harms said all book proceeds go to the scholarship fund

Canadian country star Jess Moskaluke to headline Penticton Peach Festival’s country night

Multi-award winning country artist will perform on the Peters Bros. main stage in Okanagan Lake Park

Thank you South Okanagan paramedics

We’re in this together: COVID-19

Osoyoos knife-wielding woman wins appeal to reduce sentence

Court of Appeal settled that the sentencing judge erred in principle, and the sentence was unfit

WATCH: Salmon Arm artist hosts virtual art show amid COVID-19

Roxi Hermsen’s show “Into the Cosmos” is a tribute to her father Bill Sim

Video: Wildfire near Chase being held by fire crews

BC Wildfire Service reports blaze believed to have been human caused

Coronavirus cancels rural Okanagan communities biggest events

The 65th annual event celebrating the village’s incorporation was set for June 12-14; will go in 2021

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee

Sanders plans to talk to his supporters later Wednesday

Former North Okanagan councillor fondly remembered

Ben Winters served on village council from 2005-11

B.C. faith leaders, Horgan discuss need for virtual religious ceremonies

Leaders were open to providing other ways to celebrate during the pandemic

Emergency COVID-19 funding now available for children with special needs

Funding to be used to help support families through uncertain times of pandemic

Most Read