Four people are facing fraud charges after NWT RCMP say over $23,000 was deposited at banks through allegedly forged cheques.
According to a Tuesday press release, a cheque issued to an individual by the North Slave Correctional Complex’s (NSCC) inmate trust fund – an inmate’s bank account while incarcerated – was allegedly reproduced, altered and deposited 36 times into various bank accounts.
Police believe the total amount deposited was $23,407.92 between December 2019 and February 2020.
“Defrauding the government or financial institutions is not a victimless crime,” Constable Landon King from the NWT RCMP’s financial crimes unit was quoted as saying. “Financial losses directly affect the GNWT’s ability to deliver services to citizens of the NT, and defrauding the banks result in higher fees for everyone.”
RCMP say the fraud was discovered through a partnership between banks and auditors from the territorial government.
After receiving a report in January 2020, NWT RCMP says its financial crimes unit launched an “extensive investigation” which included orders to obtain documents from four different financial institutions. Police say the investigation found that up to 15 people may have been involved in cashing forged cheques – some unknowingly.
RCMP have charged Aaron Nitsiza, 22, and Molson Romie, 31, from Yellowknife, and Tyleen MacKenzie, 19, and Amanda Lamouelle, 29 from Behchokǫ̀, with fraud and uttering a forged document. The charges against them have not been proven in court.
A warrant for arrest has been issued for Nitsiza. The three other accused have been released and are scheduled to appear in court on August 25.
Correction: June 23, 2020 – 19:12 MT. A previous version of this article misspelled the names of Aaron Nitsiza and Amanda Lamouelle. Their names have since been corrected.