Accused in Kamloops fraud case could have charges dropped in favour of plea bargain

KAMLOOPS - The trial for a former city councillor is cancelled as Crown counsel expects to hear a guilty plea next month.

Crown prosecutor Chris Balison confirmed a judge cancelled Joe Leong’s August jury trial yesterday, July 27, but says details of the change in court process have not been made public yet.

Joe Leong was charged with two counts of fraud, theft over $5,000 and breach of trust after an RCMP investigation of the Kamloops Heritage Railway Society in 2013. Instead of facing those charges, Leong plans to plead guilty to sections of the province's Society Act.

Leong is accused of shifting $100,000 from the society’s bank account into his own account twice before transferring it back. The alleged incidents occurred when Leong acted as the group’s treasurer. The offences date from February 2011 and March 2012.

Leong's next appearance is Aug. 11 to formally enter the plea, but it’s unknown what charges he'll plead to. Balison and Leong’s lawyer, Ken Walker, will issue a joint submission on sentencing.

Ultimately it will be up to a Kamloops Supreme Court Justice to determine whether or not to accept the arrangement or sentencing submission. Leong could still face original charges. 

Joe Leong faces two counts each of theft over $5,000, breach of trust and fraud.
Joe Leong faces two counts each of theft over $5,000, breach of trust and fraud.
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