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Former band manager allegedly defrauded Clearwater River Dene Nation out of $1M

La Loche (July 23, 2020) – RCMP laid charges against former band manager, Jonny Cheecham, for allegedly defrauding the Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN) out of $1 million. Following a six-year investigation, the RCMP accused him of taking several fraudulent actions during his employment with the Saskatchewan First Nation for personal financial gain, between 2008 and 2011. Cheecham has been charged with fraud over $5,000.

La Loche RCMP accused former band manager of the Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN), Jonny Cheecham, of a $1 million fraud, according to a press release of July 22. He allegedly took advantage of his position as general manager and defrauded the Saskatchewan First Nation.

Thorough investigation into financial wrongdoings

In July 2014, the RCMP received a report of a ‘fraudulent activity’ at the CRDN allegedly committed by their former band manager between 2008 and 2011. Over the course of six years, the Prince Albert RCMP General Investigation Section and the La Loche RCMP Detachment investigated financial wrongdoings including numerous interviews and a forensic audit.

The forensic audit, which has been conducted by the accounting firm MNP, has uncovered enormous financial discrepancies. The audit revealed that the CRDN lost one million dollars. The authorities allege that Cheecham took several fraudulent actions to financially benefit himself. The 61-year-old is accused of using band finances to facilitate the sale of vehicles, manipulating the band’s invoice system, receiving double or triple the correct amount for work, charging the band for work that never occurred, and by not disclosing his interest in a number of companies.

The police did not disclose further how the fraud has been conducted. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

RCMP laid charges against former band manager of Clearwater River Dene Nation

The RCMP charged Cheecham of La Loche with fraud over $5,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on September 21.

The CRDN is a Saskatchewan Band, which is located in the northern part of the province. The first nation has a membership of 1,418 people. According to the University of Saskatchewan, the band’s economy is based mainly on trapping and fishing, with potential for timber and mining development.

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