09/03/2014 02:57 EDT | Updated 11/03/2014 05:59 EST

New Brunswick Liberals suspend candidate after he is charged with fraud

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick Liberals suspended one of their candidates Wednesday after finding out he was charged with fraud and uttering forged documents for incidents alleged to have occurred in 2011.

Andrew Harvey, who is running in the riding of Carleton-Victoria, is named along with David Frederick Harvey, B. Fred Harvey and three companies in court documents filed on July 29 in Woodstock provincial court.

The information filed with the court alleges that between May 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2011, the accused defrauded the province of more than $5,000 and while knowing or believing documents were forged, caused two people to act on those documents as though they were genuine.

The court says no plea was entered when the case last came up in court on Aug. 18.

Andrew Harvey is the owner of Harvey Farm and Forest Ltd., one of the companies named in the court documents. The others are Miramichi Wreath Company and Shiktehawk Maple Farms Ltd.

Neither Harvey nor his lawyer returned messages seeking comment.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant said he only learned the news Wednesday morning and is disappointed that Harvey did not alert the party about the charges.

Gallant said Harvey may not have known about the charges at the time he was nominated on April 12, but that doesn't excuse not telling the Liberals since the charges were laid.

"We find that behaviour unacceptable and it's inappropriate," Gallant said in an interview. "That's why we believe that it's important for him to be suspended from our caucus pending the litigation be withdrawn or pending that he would be successful in clearing all charges against him."

Gallant said the party has a thorough vetting process and assumes their candidates are telling them the truth.

"We made it clear to any candidate and any potential candidate that we would need as a party full disclosure of any pending litigation, any inquiries, any type of investigation or any judicial proceedings that may be involving themselves," he said.

Gallant said he did not speak with Harvey on Wednesday but party officials informed the candidate of the suspension.

Premier David Alward said he didn't believe Harvey would be allowed to stay as a Liberal candidate, given the gravity of the charges.

"Certainly the charges that Mr. Harvey is being accused of are serious," Alward said. "I can't imagine if this is the case, that he would be able to continue as a candidate for the Liberal party."

Alward said people who want to run for the Progressive Conservatives are required to undergo criminal background checks in addition to being vetted by the party.

Elections New Brunswick said Harvey remains a registered candidate for the Sept. 22 election.

Harvey's case is due to return to court on Oct. 28.