Guilty Plea Entered in Fraud Case

Finally, two years after charges were filed, a plea has been entered in a fraud case involving eleven separate victims dating back to 2013. On Monday, April 8, 2024, former personal banking officer, Brenda Venne entered a guilty plea to Fraud over $5000. Over the course of six years between January 2, 2013, and April 30, 2019, Venne was responsible for stealing nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in funds, mainly from senior citizens, before retiring from her job with Conexus Credit Union in July 2020.

According to information presented at the trial at the Court of King’s Bench in Prince Albert, a complainant reported that $92,000 was missing from their account triggering the investigation. The first report to the Wakaw RCMP was made in December 2020. Due to the “scope and complexities” of the investigation, the Saskatoon RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS) took over and uncovered a total of 157 fraudulent transfers. At the time of Venne’s arrest in April 2022, Sgt. Greg Smith, RCMP-GIS, said, “This 16-month-long fraud and theft investigation began due to the vigilance of one keen individual. It takes great strength for a victim to come forward to police and make a report and I commend them for this. Eleven victims, the majority being seniors, were ultimately identified during the course of this investigation. Sadly, some of the victims died prior to the initial report made to police.”

At the time of the arrest two years ago, Venne was charged with Fraud over $5000 and Theft over $5000. According to the legal definition, fraud is the intentional deception of one person by another for personal, often financial, gain. Theft, on the other hand, is the act of taking someone else’s property without their consent but does not involve deception. So, while theft is taking physical or direct possession of another’s assets, fraud relies on deception or cunning manipulation to gain possession of assets. (

Conexus Credit Union collaborated with auditors and investigators during the investigation and contacted all who had been affected by the fraud telling media at the time of Venne’s arrest, that those affected had been “made whole.” A separate civil court judgement in the amount of $750,000 has been awarded to Conexus Credit Union.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, any person who is found guilty of fraud over $5,000 is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to 14 years. Sentencing of Venne has been adjourned to November 5, 2024, and while defence lawyer, Peter Abrametz Jr., wants a community-based sentence, the Crown has indicated it plans to ask for a custodial sentence. In determining sentencing, the court will likely consider aggravating circumstances such as


The impacts of fraud and financial exploitation on seniors reach far beyond finances. Non-economic costs, which are just as important to address as financial exploitation, can include psychological, behavioral, and physical symptoms. (

While anyone can fall victim to financial fraud and exploitation, seniors are some of the most common victims. Seniors who find themselves victims of fraud often experience a range of significant mental health symptoms as a result of it, including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, and disrupted sleep. These mental health impacts are often seen as intense emotions such as anger, rage, worry, hopelessness, despair, shock, betrayal, self-blame, shame, bitterness, despair, and lack of confidence. Feelings of betrayal, bitterness, and shame can also translate into changes in victim’s attitudes, which in turn impact their relationships. They may be less trusting of people in general, but more specifically depending on who commits the fraudulent act, they may lose trust in friends, family members, or institutions. This distrust can lead to isolation and a loss of relationships, which in turn leads to a lower quality of life. Additionally, the feelings of self-doubt can leave a senior victim feeling lost and powerless.

In the years since Venne initiated her fraudulent activity, some of her victims have passed away without being able to give victim impact statements, but some victims and/or family members have provided insight into the impacts felt by her victims. Brenda stole so much more than money, one individual said. She stole their ability to trust, their sense of security, and their peace of mind. Her delay in admitting to the crime, the two years of delays, and requests to have the case set aside until the next monthly court sitting only prolonged the suffering of her victims and stymied their ability to heal and move on. As someone who grew up in this community, everyone she victimized knew her and trusted her.

One family member who wished to remain anonymous had this to say, “To victimize our most vulnerable seniors was a reprehensible act which deserves the most severe sentence possible. Brenda Venne held a position of trust and respect in Wakaw. What an immense betrayal this has been to the community.”

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder