Trial begins for Labrador man accused of defrauding Innu partnership

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Trial begins for Labrador man accused of defrauding Innu partnership

A trial is underway in Happy Valley-Goose Bay for the former chief executive officer of the Innu Development Limited Partnership (ILDP).

The crown began its case against Paul Rich on Tuesday.  Rich is charged with defrauding the company set up to bring economic opportunity to Labrador's Innu communities. 

"IDLP has been quite successful and CEO Mr. Rich played a big role in that success," Crown prosecutor Jennifer Stanton told the Supreme Court jury. "But he did not have unlimited authority."

Rich was charged after an audit by former provincial auditor general and chartered accountant John Noseworthy and an investigation by the RCMP, which showed Rich received a salary, bonuses and incentives of nearly $1.5 million dollars between 2008 and 2012.

In his audit, Noseworthy, who is expected to testify at the trial, said he "could not provide any evidence of board [of directors] authorization for the excessive salary and bonuses or the incentives." 

The court will also hear from the RCMP who examined Rich's bank accounts and records along with cheques that were deposited into his accounts.

The Crown said Tuesday that minutes from board of directors meetings are incomplete. The court will hear from board members who sat at one point or another while Rich was CEO.

Edgar Branton, who was chief financial officer of IDLP at the time, was also investigated and charged by RCMP for fraud. But he passed away in 2016.

The trial for Rich is expected to last three to four weeks.