Guilty fraudster resigns from John Howard Society board

The John Howard Society of the Northwest Territories has lost its second member this month after a member of its board of directors resigned, CBC News has learned.

Resignation comes a week after board fires longtime executive director

A member of the John Howard Society of the Northwest Territories pleaded guilty to fraud Nov. 18. A week later, she resigned her position. (Chantal Dubuc/CBC)

A member of the board of directors of the John Howard Society of the Northwest Territories resigned after pleading guilty in a fraud case, CBC News has learned.

Meda Shannahan told CBC News in an email Friday she was no longer part of the society and had tendered her resignation. Shannahan's decision makes her the second person to leave the society after the board fired Lydia Bardak Nov. 14. 

Shannahan pleaded guilty to a fraud charge in territorial court Nov. 18, according to court documents. At the time she was still a member of the board of directors that fired Bardak.

Shannahan pleaded guilty to defrauding the N.W.T. government's income assistance plan of more than $5,000 after failing to disclose income. Her sentencing hearing will take place Dec. 21.

The John Howard Society is part of a network of 65 offices across Canada whose mission is to provide various kinds of rehabilitative and reintegrative services to people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.

Resignation 'the only solution': chair

Brad Carlson, the chair of the local chapter of the John Howard Society, said Shannahan tendered her resignation after the two of them spoke Friday.

"She volunteered her resignation," he said. "After we spoke about it, we both knew it was the only solution."

Carlson said he'd been unaware of the charges against Shannahan until he was contacted by CBC News about the matter Thursday.

"The first time I heard about it was when you called me," he said.

Carlson refused to discuss Bardak's firing, but said it had no connection to Shannahan's resignation.

Carlson said he'd be meeting with the other member of the John Howard Society board Saturday to discuss the society's next steps.

Though the Northwest Territories' chapter of the John Howard Society lost its charitable status with Revenue Canada, a fraud conviction in a case involving money would make Shannahan ineligible to sit on the board if that status were to be granted again, according to CRA regulations.

Reached for comment, Shannahan declined to speak, as did Jay Bran, who is listed as her lawyer in court documents.

With files from Rachel Zelniker