Alleged Welfare Fraud Victim Wants Action

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 12:23



A member of the Buffalo River Dene Nation is wondering why it’s taking the RCMP to lay charges in an apparent case of welfare cheque fraud.


Terri Bekattla-Dongu, who lives in Prince Albert, says she is one of two women who appear to have been victimized.


Bekattla-Dongu was first alerted in January that someone was cashing cheques made out in her name.


The cheques were cashed at the bank in Dillon, but Bekattla-Dongu says she hasn’t been to that community since 2006.


She is anxious to clear her name, and she also worries that the evidence trail may grow cold if the investigation drags on.


“Now at this point I’m getting a little anxious and wondering, is the evidence going to be still there? This is why I’m worried. I want to get my name cleared, because I’ve never seen a Buffalo River band cheque in my life. I’ve never had it in my hand. I’ve never, ever signed one. And yet there’s this letter going around with copies of cheques to me, which are signed with my name on it, and it is not my signature,” Bekattla-Dongu says.


RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Carole Raymond says an investigation of this sort could take years.


“The reason why it could take so long, especially when it comes to commercial crimes or any fraud investigation, is the material, the evidence that we need, are usually in commercial businesses — they’re in banks, they’re in persons’ homes. Therefore, enough information has to be obtained to get a warrant for that, for the evidence. That takes time, because now we’re into getting statements for everyone,” Raymond says.


Raymond can’t confirm if an investigation has been launched, but does say the Mounties have received a complaint.