Crown proceeding by indictment against Mountie

The Crown has opted to proceed by indictment against an RCMP officer alleged to have threatened and defrauded several people in the Innisfail and Penhold areas.

The Crown has opted to proceed by indictment against an RCMP officer alleged to have threatened and defrauded several people in the Innisfail and Penhold areas.

Const. Hoa Dong La, 43, who is suspended with pay and living in Airdrie, reserved his plea Wednesday when he appeared in court through an agent, lawyer Will Willms of Red Deer.

La faces 17 charges including 10 frauds valued at more than $5,000 each, two extortions, four unlawful harassments and a single count of making a false statement.

La returns to provincial court May 12.

“There’s a large amount of disclosure and time is required” for La’s Calgary lawyer to digest it, Willms told court.

Court heard the Crown will proceed by indictment, which means if convicted on any of the charges he faces time in a federal jail.

The indictment factor will most likely require a preliminary hearing. The earliest one could be heard would be this fall or early winter.

The charges arose out of alleged incidents when the accused was stationed at Innisfail RCMP detachment. He started his career at Innisfail 12 years ago.

A public complaint in November 2006 triggered the investigation. The complaints cover a period between 2005 and 2008.

Calgary Major Crimes is handling the investigation.

Some of the offences are alleged to have occurred in Innisfail while others are alleged to have taken place in Camrose and Airdrie.

La was suspended following an internal RCMP investigation.

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