US & Canada

Canada official admits $1m fraud of First Nations children

Breakfast cereal Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Giuseppe Crupi admitted he stole from a youth breakfast programme aimed at children living in Kashechewan First Nation

A Canadian government consultant has pleaded guilty to stealing from a breakfast programme aimed at children living in Kashechewan First Nation.

Giuseppe Crupi was appointed by the government to co-manage the programme for Cree children in northern Ontario.

Between 2007-12, police say he took C$1.2m ($930,000, £700,000) from the programme and misappropriated nearly C$700,000 for personal use.

He will be in court in January to face sentencing on two counts of fraud.

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said he is "disgusted" by the crime and called on the government to rethink how it manages indigenous programmes on reserve.

"This was an unconscionable act, and we hope that the harshest possible sentence may serve as a deterrent for anyone daring to seek personal gain at the expense of our communities," said Mr Fiddler, who is the grand chief for Nishnawbe Aski Nation in northern Ontario, in a written statement.

Mr Fiddler wants the federal government, which has jurisdiction on reserves, to review how it imposes third-party managers on services and programmes aimed at indigenous people, rather than let the communities run the programmes outright.

"It is about time they take this seriously," Mr Fiddler said.

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