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Sentencing For Credit Fraud

By LAMECH JOHNSON ljohnson@tribunemedia.net A SOUTH American woman who pleaded guilty to more than two dozen credit fraud charges will return to Magistrate's Court tomorrow for sentencing. Lunaite Paulmerie, 28, will be sentenced in Court 10, Nassau Street by Magistrate Guilimina Archer, before whom she pleaded guilty. Paulmerie, who is from Brazil, was charged last Tuesday along with her American husband, John Forest, 50, with 27 charges of credit fraud. She was expected to be sentenced on Friday afternoon, but Magistrate Archer stood the matter down in order to review the guidelines for sentencing under the law. The prosecution said the fraud was committed between November 5 and December 12. Paulmerie had pre-booked hotel accommodations at the Sheraton Hotel, Cable Beach, with two stolen American Express credit cards. When checking in on November 5 she was given a key that allowed her to credit services and goods from stores located in the hotel, as the bills would be automatically charged to the cards in her possession. Using the key card, Paulmerie accrued $19,306.77 in two weeks, checking out on November 19. On the same day, the defendant checked in to the Atlantis resort, having pre-booked accommodations with an American Express Platinum credit card, also stolen. She too was given a key that allowed her to credit services and goods from stores located in and around the resort, as the bills would be automatically charged to card. Between November 19 and December 2, Paulmerie accumulated $70,473 in hotel services, activities and merchandise. The resort has reportedly gained back $38,000 worth of what was taken during the scheme. On December 2, both hotels were contacted by American Express and told the cards used to credit goods and services were stolen. The Sheraton was forced to incur the near $20,000 lost. Paulmerie was arrested soon after. After the details were read, she told the magistrate she agreed to all of the facts read by the police prosecutor. In a plea of litigation for her client, defence attorney Tai Pinder asked the magistrate to defer sentence to allow her client, a mother of an eight-year-old, to recompense what was taken because she acknowledged that her actions were dishonest. Ms Pinder also asked the magistrate to take into consideration that the defendant had no previous convictions or pending matters in any other jurisdictions which a background check would prove Magistrate Archer said she was only concerned with what the defendant had done in the country's jurisdiction and said there was no reason to defer sentencing. However, when checking the law books in regard to sentencing , she took a short break, and upon returning decided the sentencing would occur tomorrow. With regards to Paulmerie's husband, he will return to court for trial March 9. When the prosecution brought up the issue of bail, Magistrate Archer said: "Issue of bail? He's remanded into custody."

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