Single charge of defrauding the public encompasses all offences Sgt. Robert Mugridge committed

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A Chatham-Kent police officer has pleaded guilty to one count of defrauding the public that will encompass the approximately $247,000 he obtained in loans from 44 victims through deceitful means.

Sgt. Robert Mugridge, 52, will now have to wait until Jan. 9, 2018 to find out what punishment he’ll face during a sentencing hearing that will be presided over by Ontario Superior Court Justice Scott Campbell.

Assistant Crown attorney Adam Scott told the court on Monday that the single count of defrauding the public over $5,000 should encompass the original 51 counts of fraud over $5,000.

Before Mugridge officially entered his guilty plea, Justice Campbell asked him if he acknowledges that he committed the essential elements of these offences.

“Yes, sir,” Mugridge replied.

The judge also asked the officer if he was making his plea voluntarily.

“Yes, sir,” Mugridge said.

The Crown provided the court with an “abbreviated” statement of facts covering the period of January 2009 to December 2014 when the loans were fraudulently obtained from family, friends, co-workers and other acquaintances.

Campbell said three themes were used as excuses Mugridge gave people regarding why needed to borrow money from them. They included:

  • The officer being strapped for cash and needing to pay university tuition for a child.
  • His alcohol/drug-addicted sisters taking money from his mother that he needed to repay.
  • Somebody else he borrowed money from was calling in the loan early and was threatening to go to his wife or superiors at work if he didn’t pay up.

Scott said the long and short of it was these excuses “proved to be untrue.”

He said the exact amount of money is still to be determined, but more than $247,000 was obtained through using these excuses. He added on at least nine occasions, Mugridge was in full uniform and obtained loans on two occasions while at Chatham-Kent Police Service headquarters.

Court also heard 10 people were repaid $45,000 after threatening to go to his wife or police chief if he didn’t.

Mugridge, who makes $110,000 as sergeant, has been suspended with pay since May 2014.

However, his 29-year career with the police will end when the criminal matter is done in the courts.

The Daily News will be updating this story.

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