December 16, 2016
A Parry Sound, Ontario woman has been charged this week with solemnizing weddings without lawful authority. Michelle Bottineau was charged after a couple she conducted a ceremony for complained to local authorities about not receiving their marriage certificate.
Authorities investigated and discovered that a second couple married by Bottineau was facing the same difficulties in obtaining their certificate. She was charged by local law enforcement with:
-Fraud under $5000
-Forging legal documents and credentials
-Pretending to solemnize weddings without lawful authority
The police suspect more illegal marriages, and they are reaching out to any couples who may have used the services of Bottineau.
We have seen other cases where con artists conduct fraudulent ceremonies for the sake of quick gain. While these couples will eventually have their marriages recognized by the province, they will experience delays in receiving their marriage certificate.
At the Ottawa Wedding Chapel and All Seasons Weddings we always advise our couples to consult the following directory which lists every licensed officiant in Ontario. A confirmation of your officiant’s credentials may save you a lot of trouble and paperwork in the future.
Make sure to visit www.ontario.ca/data/registered-religious-officials before your big day.