File photo of the now-closed Lethbridge SCS. Photo credit to MyLethbridgeNow.com
LETHBRIDGE, AB – The Lethbridge Police Service has concluded its investigation of ARCHES and allegations of financial improprieties at the Supervised Consumption Site (SCS).
Chief Shahin Mehdizedeh says the Alberta Justice Specialized Prosecutions branch supported the findings of the LPS investigation and determined it would not recommend criminal charges as there wasn’t a reasonable likelihood of conviction and prosecution would not be in the public interest.
In July of 2020, the Government of Alberta turned over the findings of an independent audit to Lethbridge Police to investigate. During the audit more than $1.5 million in provincial funds was unaccounted for.
“The funds that were unaccounted for were actually found during this investigation and now they are accounted for,” Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh.
The Chief though did not give details on where the money was found during a briefing with local media on Tuesday, December 22.
Pete Christos in the Acting Inspector with the LPS Criminal Investigations Unit. He says in all fairness to the individuals who brought the initial information forward which forced the provincial, they didn’t have access to the same investigative tools as police did.
“We wrote production orders for financial institutions and through those records we were able to account for those missing funds. With our investigation into this complaint, interviews were conducted and from there they were able to explain where those funds had gone,” stated Christos.
Investigators with the LPS Economic Crimes Unit worked with government officials, auditors, the ARCHES Board of Directors and the Specialized Prosecutions branch.
Through a lengthy and comprehensive investigation, in which Special Prosecutions was provided with regular updates on its progress, Lethbridge Police were able to uncover records which accounted for the funding in question.
The findings have been shared with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, which concludes the involvement of the Lethbridge Police Service in the matter.
(With files from LPS)