Joe Fontana, the mayor of London, Ontario, Canada, was charged Wednesday with fraud by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
In a statement released Wednesday, the RCMP said Fontana was charged with breach of trust by a public officer, fraud under $5,000 and uttering forged documents.
The statement said Fontana allegedly committed the crimes while he was serving as a Member of Parliament in 2005. Canada’s House of Commons informed police about the alleged inappropriate use of funds, which led to Wednesday’s charges, the RCMP said.
The fraud charges against the London mayor stemmed from a $1,700 federal check issued by Public Works Canada used for a deposit at the Marconi Club, where Fontana’s son Michael had his wedding in 2005, the Toronto Star reported.
The RCMP did not find any indications that other federal funds were used, Sgt. Richard Rollings said in an email statement to the Star.
“At this time, there is no evidence to suggest or support that other government funding was received for Mr. Fontana’s personal expenses,” Rollings wrote.
Fontana denied the allegations, according to the CBC.
On his mayoral website, the London mayor said he used personal funds to pay for his son’s wedding.
A copy of the alleged government check was obtained by the London Free Press newspaper.
“My preliminary review of the documents and financial statements currently available to me clearly indicates a personal payment made to the Marconi Club during the time frame in question,” Fontana wrote on Oct. 21. “As the dates and events are from nearly eight years ago and the London Free Press has refused my request for a copy of the documents in its possession, I have contacted the appropriate institutions for copies of required material.”
There have been calls for Fontana to resign, but he said the allegations will not be a distraction to his mayoral duties.
“This is a serious matter; however, it will not impede nor affect my work as Mayor of London. This remains my priority and chief obligation,” he wrote.
Fontana has not yet responded to the formal filing of charges as of Wednesday afternoon.
The RCMP said the London mayor is scheduled to appear in court for the fraud case on Jan. 8.