Patrick Bailey arrested on fraud-related charges
Superintendent of Police Anthony McLaughlin, who heads the Fraud Squad, has revealed that a number of attorneys are being investigated by the agency.
"I did say the other day that one of the major problems we have with attorneys is that when they are involved in land transactions, when they do sales of land for persons, they do not turn over those monies to the client," he told The Gleaner yesterday.
"So fraudulent conversion is one of the main offences for which we are investigating a number of attorneys as we speak."
McLaughlin reiterated his concerns yesterday evening following the arrest of well-known attorney Patrick Bailey.
Bailey was arrested on charges of conspiracy to defraud and forgery in connection with a land deal that took place in 1996.
"The investigation has been ongoing and we found it necessary to lay charges against him today (yesterday)," the senior policeman stated.
McLaughlin would not disclose how much money was allegedly defrauded in the matter that is scheduled for court on April 8, but a statement from the police Corporate Communications Unit indicated that the property in question is valued at $25 million.
The police are alleging that the property was transferred to another person without the owner's knowledge and consent.
Bailey was yesterday bailed with surety in the sum of $1 million and is to appear before the Half-Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court.
In the meantime, McLaughlin stated that attorneys are not being targeted.
"As it relates to the Fraud Squad, we are not targeting any group, no profession," he said. "We do not look at anybody's socio-political or social standing in society. If a case is reported to the Fraud Squad, then after our investigation, if we find it necessary to press charges, then that is what we do. But it is neither open nor closed season on any particular group."
Bailey's arrest comes after the recent arrests of other prominent attorneys, including Michael Lorne and Harold Brady.