Fredericton police officer charged with theft, fraud
Const. Michael (Mike) Cook accused of stealing from New Brunswick Police Association while he was treasurer
A suspended Fredericton Police Force officer is facing theft and fraud charges in connection with the police association he once served as treasurer.
Const. Michael (Mike) Craig Cook, 38, of Hanwell is accused of stealing more than $5,000 from the New Brunswick Police Association and of defrauding the advocacy and lobbying organization that represents municipal police officers across the province of more than $5,000.
The total amount of money allegedly involved has not been released.
The offences are alleged to have occurred between Dec. 5, 2012, and Feb. 26, 2015, and Oct. 16, 2012, and Feb. 26, 2015, respectively, while Cook was the treasurer.
RCMP laid the two charges against Cook in Fredericton provincial court on Thursday. The investigation was launched following an allegation of misappropriation of funds.
Cook did not attend court. His first scheduled appearance is on Feb. 1 at 9:30 a.m.
Police Chief Leanne Fitch will not be making any comments, said spokeswoman Alycia Bartlett.
The case came to light about a year-and-a-half ago when Fitch filed a conduct complaint with the New Brunswick Police Commission against a then-unidentified officer, whom she suspended with pay.
The independent oversight body began an investigation under the provincial Police Act "and by July of 2015 our investigator discovered that there were sufficient grounds of criminal allegations," said executive director and CEO Steve Roberge.
The commission advised Fitch, who then forwarded the matter to the RCMP.
"We automatically suspended our Police Act investigation once that criminal investigation started," said Roberge, and it will remain suspended until the criminal proceedings are complete.
Dean Secord, president of the New Brunswick Police Association, said he felt "blindsided" to learn through the media about the charges being laid.
"It would have been nice to have a little heads-up that, 'Ya, we've concluded the investigation and we are now filing the charges," he said.
The association did not pursue a Police Act or criminal complaint against Cook.
"In our view, we were negotiating getting our funds back," said Secord. "And prior to that, the chief of police filed a Police Act complaint."
Secord said Fitch filed the complaint after he met with her and other senior Fredericton Police Force officials to advise them an internal investigation had revealed alleged misconduct and possible criminal activity.
The association "fully co-operated" with both the Police Act investigation and criminal investigation once they began, he said.
Secord raised concerns about how long the RCMP investigation took.
"It's been in limbo for I don't know how many months. It's been a long time that we have asked questions of where it was at and not getting any answers."
RCMP Const. Hans Ouellette declined to comment, saying any additional information about the case "will come out through the court process."