Advertisement

Former B.C. social worker arrested, 13 criminal charges laid: Kelowna RCMP

Former Kelowna, B.C., social worker Robert Saunders. Facebook

A former social worker in B.C. who allegedly stole from his at-risk clients was arrested and is now facing criminal charges.

On Friday, Kelowna RCMP announced that Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta after a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Police said Saunders has been remanded into custody and will be brought back to appear before the Kelowna provincial court next week.

Read more: Court approves multi-million dollar settlement against B.C. social worker who defrauded teens in care

In a press release, Kelowna RCMP said it began investigating Saunders in March of 2018 for alleged fraudulent activity “while he was employed with the Ministry of Children and Family Development from 1996 to 2018.”

“This was a lengthy and laborious investigation, led by the fraud section of the Kelowna RCMP Serious Crime Unit,” said Kelowna Supt. Kara Triance.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are pleased to be able to report back to the community that the matter has now advanced into the judicial process.”

Following a review of the investigation, the BC Prosecution Service approved 13 charges against Saunders including 10 counts of fraud over $5,000, one count of theft over $5,000, one count of breach of trust and one count of uttering a forged document, police confirmed.

Click to play video: 'No criminal charges yet against disgraced Kelowna, B.C., social worker who defrauded foster kids' No criminal charges yet against disgraced Kelowna, B.C., social worker who defrauded foster kids
No criminal charges yet against disgraced Kelowna, B.C., social worker who defrauded foster kids – Nov 3, 2020

 

In late October, a multi-million dollar settlement for Saunders’ alleged victims was approved by a judge.

According to the lawyer spearheading the case, Jason Gratl, Saunders neglected children that were assigned to his guardianship.

“Most of the children for whom Saunders was acting as guardian were Indigenous children, and their cultural and spiritual development was ignored and neglected,” Gratl told Global News on Nov. 1.

Story continues below advertisement

The class-action settlement was certified on July 28, and was approved by Justice Alan Ross on Oct. 23.

Court documents listed the number of class-action members at 107, with 90 estimated to be Indigenous or of Indigenous ancestry.

— With files from Shelby Thom.

Sponsored content