An investigation is underway after the Gilbert Plains municipality lost more than half a million dollars from its bank account in an alleged case of fraud.

A letter was sent to the residents in the RM letting them know that the RCMP is investigating the loss of $514,571.86. The money was transferred from the municipality’s bank account without the council’s authorization.

Paul Manaigre with the RCMP says an investigation is indeed underway.

“The report was made to the Dauphin Detachment on November 9,” said Manaigre. “They provided evidence to suggest that a theft had occurred. Now we will examine the documents and basically start putting the pieces together so we can use everything for court purposes.”

Gilbert Plains reeve Jim Manchur has confirmed that the employee in question has been terminated for just cause. He says when he first found out about the loss of funds, he was shocked.

“We were truly shocked and surprised at the extent of it,” said Manchur. “We had to look further into it and that’s why we engaged MNP to conduct a forensic accounting investigation.”

Manaigre has said the case involves over 30 suspicious transactions that occurred between April 2020 and June 2022.

“The investigation by the municipality pointed to a single suspect who was found to have access to their accounting software,” offered Manaigre. “At this point, the investigation has not determined any breaches from an external person outside of the municipality. This was an internal theft and we’re just putting the pieces together to move this investigation forward.”

This isn’t the only case of fraud that the RCMP is currently investigating. The Westlake-Gladstone municipality had over $472,000 withdrawn from its bank account in a series of unauthorized withdrawals in December 2019 and January 2020.