By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
FIVE women and a man were ordered to pay back the $30,000 they collectively defrauded a local lending institution out of two years ago by using fake Department of Education employment letters.
Carl Fisher III; Vandissa Rolle; Ericka Gibson; Trene Leadon; Reniqua Bowe; and Melissa Evans were each ordered to pay back the $5,000 they defrauded Easy Terms Limited out of in June 2017.
Failure to do so by December 3rd would result in a $2,500 fine along with a one year prison sentence, Magistrate Ambrose Ambrister ordered. Failure to pay the fine would result in an extra six months in prison.
The six were also ordered to perform a collective 480 hours of community service—80 hours each—at a place to be named by the Department of Rehabilitative Services. Failure to comply with that order would result in a $500 fine, and failure to pay the fine would result in a six month prison sentence.
They were also put on six months’ probation, during which time they must keep the peace and be of good behaviour. A $500 fine along with an eight month custodial sentence is the alternative. If the fine is not paid, four months will be tacked onto that sentence.
This came after all six pleaded guilty to uttering and consequently being in possession of forged Department of Education employee letters, which they each then used to defraud Easy Terms of $5,000.
Two other woman, Shanti Moxey and Shakera Youte, were also charged with the same offences, but the prosecutor, Sergeant Kendrick Bauld, withdrew the charges after receiving letters indicating that their respective debts had been settled.
The two were consequently discharged by the magistrate.
According to the facts of the case read by Sgt Bauld, Easy Payday, a subsidiary of Easy Terms, is a business engaged in providing loans to government employees that are serviced through salary deductions.
He said that sometime between May and June 2017, all eight persons presented employment letters from the Department of Education (DOE), attached with an official stamp, as well as other relevant documents, to Easy Payday for a loan application. As a result, they each ended up receiving $5,000 First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) cheques in their respective names.
At some point, Dellareece Symonette, a senior assistant secretary at the DOE, got a call from Ms Knowles over her suspicions that fraudulent activities were taking place at their Thompson Boulevard branch.
Ms Knowles subsequently faxed Ms Symonette the names of the eight persons to determine if they were in fact employed with the ministry and/or department of education. Ms Symonette subsequently made a check and confirmed that Fisher, Rolle, Gibson, Bowe, Evans, Moxey and Youte were not MOE or DOE employees.
Leadon was found to have been a newly applied contract worker, but would not have been eligible for a loan.
As a result, they were all arrested, cautioned and interviewed. They each admitted to the crimes and were consequently charged.