This story has been updated.
The Sûreté du Québec has been called in to investigate a misappropriation of funds that has been uncovered during an internal audit underway at the town of Hudson.
Launched two weeks ago by town officials, the internal audit followed the discovery in March that “administrative errors” had been made in a salary deduction at source of its 36 municipal employees, specifically the employees’ medical insurance plan.
The announcement that a misappropriation of funds had been uncovered was made in a press release issued by the town of Hudson via a public relations firm on Monday.
Though he would not comment on the case, Mayor Michael Elliott said, “Rumours are just everywhere in Hudson and this doesn’t help anything. We really must wait and see what the findings are from the SQ.”
Monday’s release stated that: “During the course of the internal audit which focused on what the council expected were essentially administrative errors, the council received information last week indicating that sums of money had been misappropriated.
“It is not known at this time what the scope of the alleged fraud, or the amount of funds that may have been misappropriated, might be,” it continued.
Elliott is quoted in the statement as saying: “As soon as we were made aware of this new information, we contacted the Sûreté du Québec, who then took over the case.”
He then goes on to say that Hudson’s town council and municipal employees “are co-operating fully with the investigation in order to shed light on this deplorable situation as quickly as possible.”
The press release concludes: “In order not to interfere with the fiscal process or the ongoing investigation, the town of Hudson will not be providing any further details at this time.”
It is expected that once the SQ completes a preliminary look at the findings of the internal audit, it will then determine who will lead the possible investigation: the SQ’s own financial crimes unit, Opération Marteau, or UPAC (Unité permanente anticorruption), said Vincent Martineau, a spokesman for Panache Media, which issued the press release for the town on Monday.
To read editor Brenda O’Farrell’s blog on this topic, click here.