By Morgan Modjeski
A man accused of stealing more than $1 million from a Saskatchewan First Nation has turned himself in.
Hugo Gallegos, 40, was charged with theft over $5,000 after officials from the Whitecap Dakota First Nations contacted RCMP about more than $1 million in missing funds.
A former accountant for the First Nations, Gallegos appeared in court after a trip to his native country of El Salvador. RCMP say Gallegos returned to Canada on Oct. 29, 2013. He then travelled from Toronto to Saskatoon for the court appearance.
His attorney, Morris Bodnar, said Gallegos returned to deal with the matter voluntarily, but noted “he didn’t have to come back.”
“He’s going to deal with the matter and get it over with,” Bodnar said outside of Saskatoon’s provincial court on Thursday.
Gallegos was charged on Sept. 11, 2013 and after RCMP were unable to locate him, they issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest, but acknowledged he may have returned to El Salvador.
Bodnar said he arranged with Crown prosecutors to have his client return to Canada without arrest, adding he’s now waiting for disclosure on the case from the Crown.
“Now I can sit down with my client and talk to him rather than on the phone or by email,” noting he’s unsure if his client had left to El Salvador before the charges were laid.
While Bodnar would not get into details on why his client travelled to El Salvador, he said it’s information that will likely become available as the case works its way through the courts.
Gallegos was released on Thursday on a number of conditions, including surrendering both his Canadian and El Salvadorian passport, registering his address with RCMP and he providing finger prints to RCMP within 30 days.
He’s scheduled to be back in court on Nov. 26, 2013.