Napoleon Mercredi could face a prison term of up to three-and-a-half years in a federal institution for defrauding the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation of close to $290,000.

Mercredi was convicted of the fraud earlier this year, which occurred during the period when he was Fond du Lac chief from 2009 to 2011.

The Crown is also asking for restitution of $260,000.

During a sentencing hearing in a Prince Albert courtroom Friday afternoon, Crown prosecutor Darren Howarth said the position of authority and trust Mercredi was in when the fraud was committed, the significant amount of funds taken over a period of time and community impact on Fond du Lac due to the loss of funds are all factors that should be considered in sentencing.

Mercredi’s defence is seeking a prison term of no more than 2 years in a provincial institution and restitution of $120,000 to be paid over ten years.

Defence lawyer Garth Bendig argued Mercredi was only utilizing a system that was put in place long before his tenure and there were no controls on this line of credit that could be accessed by Prince Albert Grand Council chiefs.

He characterized what Mercredi did as more of a “lack of understanding” than part of any sophisticated scheme.

Justice Gary Meschishnick is scheduled to render a sentencing decision on Oct. 9.

(PHOTO: Napoleon Mercredi. File photo.)