An RCMP investigation into fraud at the Village of Big Valley is ongoing stated the non-commissioned officer in charge of Stettler RCMP detachment, responding to comments made at a recent council meeting.
Sgt. Tim Gaultois, in an interview Oct. 2, confirmed an allegation was made regarding fraud within the village government and Gaultois also confirmed the investigation was ongoing and was being treated just like any other investigation the detachment is involved with.
“We treat them all the same,” said Gaultois at the Stettler RCMP detachment.
At the Sept. 24 meeting of Big Valley council, Coun. Harry Nibourg told the rest of council he spoke to RCMP who stated they investigated allegations of fraud at the village and that they found crimes had been committed but no charges would be laid because complications arising from the coronavirus pandemic would simply result in the charges being thrown out of court.
Gaultois disputed that statement and said that was not the case.
The sergeant stated the COVID-19 epidemic has slowed down the court system considerably but no charges are being thrown out for that reason.
Gaultois stated if the RCMP found evidence that crimes were committed charges would be laid and COVID-19 would have nothing to do with it.
Gaultois stated fraud investigations are very complex and can take years to conduct, including search warrants, which can be very complicated to obtain.
“There is so much documentation that we have to have just to lay a charge,” said Gaultois, who also noted the status of an investigation is largely based on the evidence that police have collected up to that point.
Gaultois stated, RCMP, when they’ve completed an investigation, forward the evidence package to the crown prosecutor’s office where a decision is made whether to proceed with charges or not.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter