A senator expelled from the Liberal caucus after allegedly using a Senate staffer to do yard work at his western Quebec home has been formally charged by the RCMP.
Raymond Lavignewas charged Tuesday with fraud over $5,000, breach of trust and obstruction of justice, said an RCMP news release.
The formerLiberal MP, who is originally from Montreal,is to appear in court on Sept. 18.
An RCMP investigation was launched in August 2006 into allegations that Lavigne misappropriated more than $5,000 in Senate funds and directed one of his employees to do work unrelated to Senate duties.
Lavigne is also alleged to have asked an employee to "make misrepresentations" before and during a Senate investigation, RCMP Sgt. Monique Beauchamp told CBC News Tuesday.
Police were following up onthe Senate committee probeinto complaints from Lavigne's neighbours in Wakefield, Que., about 40 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.
Neil and Carol Faulkner, who lived next door to Lavigne,alleged that SenateemployeeDaniel Côté had been cutting trees on their side of the fence.
After the Senate committee announced in June 2006thatits findings were "adverse" toLavigne,he was expelled from the Liberal caucus and asked to pay back $23,500 to the Senate, which he agreed to do.