BRISTOL – Norway Bay residents were surprised when they opened their door to two men from the RCMP, January 9. The investigators were asking residents about the local activities of former Liberal Senator Mac Harb who is currently being investigated for allegations of breach of trust. On January 10 the RCMP told the media they are investigating ex-Senator Harb for mortgage fraud, although they did not specify which properties.
Last September, the RCMP asked similar questions in the Cobden and Westmeath areas where Harb had properties that he had claimed as his principal residence, making him eligible for housing expenses. Harb resigned from the Senate in August 2013 and receives a fully indexed pension of over $100,000 a year. He has paid back $231,000 in apparent fraudulent expenses.
Towards the end of last year, the RCMP requested and received a court order directing banks to turn over account and credit card information not only for Harb, but also for Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau. These senators were suspended from the Senate in November 2013 and are also under investigation for fraudulent expense claims.
While Harb never claimed expenses for a Norway Bay residence, a cottage on Phyllis Avenue belongs to his spouse. “When we are doing this type of investigation we need as much information as possible. Because of Mr. Harb’s ties to the area through his spouse, we were making general inquiries as to his local activities,” said RCMP investigator Constable André Mazerolle.