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Man pleads guilty to defrauding millions from Sask. First Nation

Watch above: The man who did books for the Whitecap Dakota First Nation has pleaded guilty to fraud. Wendy Winiewski tells us Hugo Gallegos will likely spent time in jail for his $5 million crime.

SASKATOON – There was relief in a Saskatoon court room Friday as Hugo Gallegos pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding the Whitecap Dakota First Nation out of millions of dollars. The court room at the Court of Queen’s Bench was packed with community members yet it was completely silent as the court clerk read the charges asking Gallegos his plea.

Time and again Gallegos uttered the word ‘guilty’.

Gallegos admitted guilt to the following charges:

  • between Jan. 1, 2009 and July 31, 2013, did steal money in an amount exceeding $5000, the property of Whitecap Dakota First Nation;
  • between Jan. 1, 2009 and July 31, 2013, did by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means defraud the Whitecap Dakota First Nation of money in an amount greater than $5000;
  • between Jan . 1, 2009 and July 31, 2013, did transfer the possession of property to wit money with intent to conceal or convert that property knowing or believing that all of the property was obtained as a result of the commission in Canada of the designated offence of fraud over $5000;
  • between Jan. 1, 2009 and July 31, 2013, did have in his possession property of value exceeding $5000 knowing that all of the property was obtained by the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment;
  • between July 1, 2013 and July 31, 2013, did steal money in an amount exceeding $5000, the property of Whitecap Dakota First Nation; and
  • between July 1, 2013 and July 31, 2013, did by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means defraud the Whitecap Dakota First Nation of money in an amount greater than $5000.

The admission of guilt struck a chord with community members who embraced once court adjourned, supporting one another, and their chief – Darcy Bear.

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Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear hugs community member outside Queen’s Bench Court Friday.
Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear hugs community member outside Queen’s Bench Court Friday. Vytai Brannan - Global News

“It was a long time coming,” said Bear referring to several adjournments made by Gallegos and his lawyers during court proceedings.

“There’s been a lot of delay tactics so today I was just expecting another delay tactic but that didn’t happen so yeah it’s certainly… this step is out of the way,” said Bear.

Gallegos is alleged to have stolen an estimated $5.8 million – the exact value will be disclosed at his next court appearance when he is sentenced on Sept. 2.

After the plea, Judge Richard Danyliuk cautioned Gallegos the charges are likely to result in incarceration.

READ MORE: Whitecap Dakota FN alleges bank, audit firm failed to detect fraud

Friday’s guilty plea comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the Whitecap Dakota First Nation against its auditor – KPMG, and its bank – RBC, for not noticing the fraudulent transactions.

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