Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Messado's legal troubles mounting

Published:Friday | June 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/ Senior Gleaner Writer
Messado

At least 10 more persons have come forward with claims that they, too, have been defrauded by prominent attorney Jennifer Messado, a clerk of court and police investigators have revealed.

Clerk of court Hansurd Lawson has revealed, too, that the probe into Messado's financial dealings now spans three separate law enforcement agencies: the Financial Investigations Division, the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), and the Police Fraud Squad.

Law enforcement sources say that since Messado's first arrest in March, 10 persons, mainly business operators, have come forward with allegations that they have been defrauded of millions of dollars through the 'sale' of properties.

"They are now putting the finishing touches on those investigations," said one source, making reference to police investigators.

The disclosures came as the well-known real estate attorney appeared, in handcuffs, in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Wednesday to answer to the latest fraud-related charges filed against her, this time by MOCA.

The latest charges involved over $58 million allegedly defrauded from top Jamaican entertainer Mavado as well as businessman Norman Horne and his sister, Charlotte Horne-Hayles, through the 'sale' of two St Andrew properties.

Messado has two other cases before the court, which involve allegations that she sold properties that were not up for sale.

Despite strong objections from police investigators, she was granted bail by Parish Judge Vaughn Smith in the amount of $5 million with the same conditions as her two other cases. Lawson, in outlining the newest allegations against Messado, said that Mavado told the police that in April 2017, he was introduced to a property in Kingston 8.

He said that the entertainer, whose real name is David Brooks, began making arrangements to purchase the property through his attorney, Tamika Harris.

According to Lawson, Mavado later paid Messado $30.7 million for the property and signed a sale agreement and a document giving him possession. However, he said that it was later discovered that the property was not for sale.

"The owner of the property said that he does not know who Miss Messado is and never gave her permission to sell his property," Lawson told the court, adding that Mavado has been reimbursed $7 million.