Hamilton police have charged Mackenzie Jenkyns, (aka Mackenzie Kristjon) with fraud over $5,000 and theft over $5,000.
Jenkyns is a volunteer treasurer for the Hamilton Ontario based Canadian Orpheus Male Choir, and a musician working under the moniker “This Mad Desire”. He also works as a Publishing Director with Coastline Publishing and is a former financial consultant for the Investors Group.
First reported by the CBC, the amateur choir had hired Jenkyns to handle their financial accounts, only to find that payroll cheques for their music director and accompanist had bounced this past September.
According to the choir Registrar, John Nelson, Jenkyns ended up paying the fees personally, effectively delaying any further investigation by the choir administration.
Then in early October, the choir’s concert secretary tried to reach Jenkyns to have him prepare a payment to book a hall for an upcoming concert.
Jenkyns ignored the requests, prompting the Choir President, Rod Roberts, to step in and access the bank accounts. Roberts was shocked to find approximately $50,000 in funds had gone missing.
“He looked at the bank statements, and he saw [withdrawals for] $200 here, $250 there, $500 there,” Nelson told the CBC in an interview.
According to the CBC, the choir administration immediately contacted Hamilton police to have Jenkyns charged. Jenkyns was held and later released on a promise to appear in court on December 18.
First established in 1977, the choir has been active in raising over $800,000 for service groups, churches, and organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Hamilton Spectator’s Summer Camp Fund.
Despite the choir’s generosity, they ironically now find themselves in dire need.
They have launched a GoFundMe account requesting donations, with a goal of reaching $40,000.
“With special support from singers, our music director, our accompanist, annual dues, concert revenue, gifts from other choirs, and fundraising events, the choir can stay afloat for a few months. But to recover from this devastating loss, to ensure the long-term survival of this Hamilton institution, and to help the charities we support, we need your help,” reads a statement on the site.
“The board is working tirelessly to put this right and prevent it from ever happening again.”