Former head of Cumberland development authority pleads guilty to forgery

The former executive director of the now-defunct Cumberland Regional Development Authority has pleaded guilty to one count of forgery.

Rhonda Charmaine Kelly was charged in 2016 with one count of fraud and nine counts of forgery.

On Wednesday, she appeared in Amherst provincial court and pleaded guilty to causing the provincial Department of Economic and Rural Development to act upon forged documents.

The other charges are expected to be dropped. A sentencing date has been scheduled for June 19.

Kelly had been accused of defrauding the Nova Scotia government of more than $5,000 and filing forged claim forms for:

- Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism

- Age of Sail project

- Cumberland Energy Office

- Fundy Shore Business Development Strategy

- Main Street Beautification Phase II project

- Pugwash Marina project

- Regional Energy Strategy

- YMCA Fundraising Strategy

- Youth Retention Project

The Cumberland Regional Development Authority, which has since been dismantled along with its regional counterparts elsewhere in the province, used to receive about $700,000 a year of public funding, plus hundreds of thousands of additional dollars for specific projects.

In July 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers examined the authority's records and found $790,000 worth of false and questionable invoices.