A former Hamilton school board superintendent — now a high-ranking Toronto school board official — faces fraud charges, and a local vice-principal forgery-related charges, after a lengthy police investigation.
Patrick Rocco, 57, of Fonthill is charged with three counts of fraud under $5,000, making a forged document and using a forged document based on "credit card transactions," Hamilton police say.
He and Patrick Elliott, 46, of Niagara Falls are also charged with two counts of making a forged document, two counts of using a forged document and two counts of transferring a forged document.
These falsified documents, police say, were submitted to the U.S. Department of State "relating to citizenship for personal gain."
Detective Sgt. Greg Doerr said the U.S. state department may now conduct their own investigation into the charges.
None of the charges has been proven in court.
Rocco left the Hamilton board in September 2015 for a job in Toronto. He's now an executive superintendent of employee services at the Toronto District School Board.
While the police and internal board investigations continue, Elliott, a vice-principal in Hamilton, is "not actively on the job" but is still being paid, said Todd White, chairman of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.
"Given his role there's only so much you can do from home," he said.
The Toronto board said Rocco is also on home assignment while the board reviews the allegations.
'A number of irregularities'
White said accountability processes led to the Hamilton board sharing some information with police in May 2016.
While the board was revamping its procurement, employee expenses and fraud prevention strategies, credit card statements from Rocco's time with the board caught their attention.
"We uncovered a number of irregularities and that's where this stemmed from," White said. "Within our own organization we have a zero tolerance for any behaviour that reflects fraud."
Some of the issues involved in the charges "go beyond the scope of work with the HWDSB," White said.
The board is now working on a fraud prevention policy that goes next to a committee in February, encompassing a variety of possible intentional fraudulent behaviours like misusing sick days and using corporate credit cards for personal expenses.
Both men are scheduled to appear in court in January.