By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THREE Americans were spared a criminal conviction yesterday despite admitting to making a false declaration concerning $27,000 in cash when they tried to leave the country on the weekend.
However, Senior Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans ordered that the $27,136 Kerrville, Texas natives Garrett Keiser, Allison Mobley and Victoria Morris had in their possession be forfeited to the Crown.
Moments earlier, the three Americans had each pleaded guilty to making a declaration to a US Border Control officer that they were not carrying over $10,000 in cash when in fact they were carrying some $17,000 more.
They were also charged with failing to declare the $27,000. Keiser pleaded guilty to that charge, while Mobley and Morris pleaded not guilty. As a result, the prosecutor, Sergeant Kendrick Bauld, withdrew that charge against the latter two.
The incident took place on Sunday at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) as the trio sought to leave the Bahamas.
According to reports, shortly after 4pm on the date in question, the trio presented themselves to a US Border Control officer at LPIA and failed to declare the true amount of money in their possession.
The officers conducted a search of the three and recovered $27,136 cash.
Yesterday, their attorney Ian Cargill asked that a conviction not be recorded against his clients, but the money instead be confiscated and they be subsequently discharged. Sgt Bauld did not object to the request.
The magistrate consequently granted Mr Cargill’s request, and ordered the three to be turned over to the Department of Immigration, whose officers will make the decision as to whether they are to be escorted out of the country or allowed to leave freely.