Brazeau and Harb formally charged with fraud

Suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau along with retired Senator Mac Harb, have been formally charged by the RCMP today for their alleged roles in the ‘Senate expenses scandal.’

Brazeau and Harb were being investigated on allegations of breach of trust over their housing and expense claims. Brazeau is also facing additional legal troubles including assault and sexual assault against two former girlfriends.

The RCMP announced the charges at a news conference Tuesday morning. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud, stated that the sensitive investigation began back in March of 2013 into housing and living expenses claims of both Brazeau and Harb.

As a result, RCMP have charged both Brazeau and Harb with one count each of Breach of Trust and Fraud and both will appear in court at a later date. As part of the investigation, Michaud stated that dozens of witnesses and individuals were investigated and they also analyzed thousands of documents dating back to 2013 including bank records, financial statements and expense claims of both of the accused.

The investigation alleges Brazeau swindled $50,000 and Harb, more than $230,000.

It was told during the news conference that Harb will plead not-guilty. Harb repaid the entire amount last May, and has since retired from the Senate. He now collects a Senate pension.

Senators are allowed to claim up to $22,000 in living expenses: including accommodation, meals and incidentals, per fiscal year when they are in Ottawa on parliamentary business, as long as their primary residence is more than 100 kilometres away. Brazeau claimed his primary residence was in Maniwaki, but after a thorough RCMP investigation, no evidence was found that he was actually living at that address. Brazeau’s second residence is in Ottawa.

Brazeau was appointed to Senate in December 2008 and is Algonquin of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation, near Maniwaki, Quebec.

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