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Watson Lake mayor resigns following fraud, forgery charges

Cheryl O’Brien is accused of defrauding the Watson Lake Riding Association
The former mayor of Watson Lake has been charged with embezzling money from the local rising association. (Black Press file)

The mayor of Watson Lake has resigned after allegedly embezzling money from the local riding association.

Cheryl O’Brien, 46, is facing a charge each of fraud over $5,000 and forgery, Yukon RCMP said in a press release Aug. 7.

Court documents allege O’Brien, who was elected mayor in 2018, defrauded the Watson Lake Riding Association and made out cheques to herself “to the prejudice” of the association.

The alleged crimes took place between May 20 and July 29.

In a brief phone interview Aug. 7, Watson Lake CAO Cam Lockwood told the News that O’Brien had submitted her resignation to the town on the morning of Aug. 6 — the same day court documents say the charges were laid against her.

Her resignation, he said, was due to “personal reasons, which have nothing to do with the Town of Watson Lake.”

Lockwood said the town will be holding a special council meeting the afternoon of Aug. 9 “to deal with the matter.”

O’Brien is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 6.

Contact Jackie Hong at