Fraud cost stayed in opposition to Winnipeg funeral house director

A fraud charge laid more than two years ago against a Winnipeg funeral home operator has been stayed by Crown prosecutors.

A spokesperson for the Manitoba government confirmed on Wednesday that a charge of fraud over $5,000 was stayed against Chad Wheeler on Dec. 29, 2022.

Wheeler, who owned and operated Wheeler Funeral Home in Transcona, was arrested in November 2020 following an investigation by the Winnipeg Police Service’s financial crimes unit that started in April 2018.

Police alleged Wheeler sold 76 pre-arranged funeral plans between February 2006 and 2018, but did not place the money, which totalled $175,000, in a trust.

In March of 2018, the funeral home was placed into receivership, and Wheeler’s funeral director’s licence was revoked following a review by the Funeral Board of Manitoba.

“New information came to light that led the Crown to reassess its case,” the provincial spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “After a detailed and thorough review of the evidence, the Crown determined that there was no longer a reasonable likelihood of conviction. As a result, the Crown stayed the charge.”

Ethan Pollock, Wheeler’s lawyer, would not share reasons for the staying of charges, but said his client is relieved about the decision.

“Chad is happy to finally put this behind him. He maintained his innocence throughout the criminal justice process,” Pollock said in an email.

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