A Chaldean Priest in London has been charged with fraud, after church officials reported more than $500,000 slated for refugee sponsorship went missing.
Back in February, London Police began an investigation after officials with St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church here in London made a complaint to law enforcement.
Police alleged through the course of his employment as a Chaldean Priest, Amer Saka obtained substantial sums of money from over 20 victims under the guise of a sponsorship program to bring refugee families into Canada.
The investigation conducted by the London Police with the cooperation of the Hamilton Catholic Diocese determined the total amount of sponsorship money allegedly obtained by Saka was in excess of $500,000.
This investigation spanned throughout the Province of Ontario, the United States and other countries where refugees were attempting to come to Canada.
Members of the London Police Fraud Unit arrested and charged 51-year-old Amer Saka on Wednesday in relation to this investigation.
As a result, Saka is charged with the following Criminal Code of Canada offences:
- Fraud Exceeding $5000 contrary to Section 380(1)(a); and
- Possess Proceeds of Property or Thing Exceeding $5000 contrary to Section 354(1)(a).
The investigation is ongoing and Police are encouraging any members of the public who may have had dealings with Amer Saka to contact the London Police Service at (519) 661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent in on-line anonymously to www.londoncrimestoppers.com
When the allegations first came to light in February, it was believed Saka had been suspended from his church duties and was seeking treatment.
Officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton confirmed they have taken over responsibility for supporting the refugees that could have been impacted by the missing funding.