Two men have been charged with defrauding the Town of Kapuskasing of $800,000.
In a Feb. 2 news release, the OPP said the charges stem from an investigation into allegations of fraud, which was launched by the Crime Unit of the James Bay Detachment on June 6, 2017.
“Police investigation revealed that between September 2014 and February 2015, a male from the Town of Kapuskasing, as well as the owner of a solar panel company contracted by the Town of Kapuskasing, defrauded the town of approximately $800,000,” noted the release.
The OPP said its Anti-Rackets Branch and OPP Aviation Services, using its unmanned aerial system, assisted with the investigation.
Yvan Brousseau, 64, from Crysler, Ont., has been charged with Fraud Over $5,000, contrary to section 380(1)(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada (CC), and Breach of Trust by a Public Officer contrary to section 122 CC.
Brousseau had served as the town’s chief administrative officer, but resigned from that role in 2014 to take on the role of chief executive officer at Énergie Kapuskasing Energy.
Launched in 2011, in accordance with the province’s Green Energy Act, Énergie Kapuskasing Energy was established to create renewable energy generation projects in partnership with other communities in the North. It was expected to generate millions in revenue for the town.
A second man, Karl Hollett, 54, from Napanee, Ont., has been charged with Fraud Over $5,000 contrary to section 380(1)(a) CC.
Hollett had been the CEO of Strathcona Energy Group, a solar panel manufacturer contracted by Énergie Kapuskasing Energy. The company filed for receivership in December, 2016.
A statement from the Town of Kapuskasing said that Mayor Al Spacek and council respect “the legal and criminal court processes that are in place.”
“The municipality does not anticipate suffering a financial loss as a result of the matter disclosed in the Ontario Provincial Police’s press release and all solar projects contracted to date remain within budget,” the statement said.
Police said the two men have been released and are scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Kapuskasing on Mar. 19, 2018.