Edmonton police have charged the former treasurer of a local children’s non-profit group in connection with fraud totalling more than $206,000.
The investigation uncovered “multiple fraudulent transactions” withdrawn from the Children’s Heart Society bank accounts.
It is alleged the transactions were made between 2013 and 2016.
Edmonton police and the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission worked together on the six-month investigation.
Asa Wedman, 40, was charged with two counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of fraud over $5,000. Wedman was the treasurer of the Children’s Heart Society until the fall of 2016, when the investigation began.
He has not had any involvement with the charity since then, Children’s Heart Society president Andrea Luft said. “Obviously, as an organization, we were very upset.It’s a big hit,” Luft said. “It’s a large chunk of money… That being said, we carry on as an organization and we are continuing fundraising efforts. We want our sponsors and donors to know that we are doing everything to recover that money.”
Luft said the charity has put in even more checks and balances.
“We’ve really clamped down and we’re making sure going forward all of the funds raised are going to where they should — supporting local families and kids in our community.”
The Children’s Heart Society filed a lawsuit against Wedman and two banks on Jan. 5, 2017.
The statement of claim alleges Wedman “fraudulently, without authorization, and for his own benefit withdrew funds from the CHS accounts in the sum of at least $213,457.32. Specifically, Wedman paid to himself approximately $45,519.04 from the casino account, $218,198.84 from the general account and $39,739.64 from the bingo account.”
The lawsuit claims he forged cheques made payable to himself or third parties, altered account statements, created fake invoices, removed entries from the charity’s accounting system, thus “wilfully and deceitfully made active efforts to conceal these activities.”
The claim states, as treasurer, Wedman was in a position of trust.
It also names two banks, HSBC Canada and Royal Bank of Canada, as defendants, alleging they were negligent and didn’t follow protocol. In its statement of defence, HSBC and RBC denied every allegation in the charity’s statement of claim.
Wedman has not filed a statement of defence.
The charity is asking for $213,457.52 from Wedman through a judgment or damages or restitution, $167,938.48 from RBC and $45,519.04 from HSBC.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.