Court orders US$30,000 seized in 2009 go to government
A court has ordered that US$30,000 or more than J$3 million seized in a financial crime investigation in 2009 be turned over to the government.
In a statement yesterday, the police said Magistrate Jennes Anderson made the order in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court on April 17.
The Financial Investigation Division is hailing the probe in the matter as a tremendous success.
The money was seized from Christopher Bernard of Red Hills, St Andrew and of a Florida, United States address in 2009 at the Norman Manley International Airport.
Bernard was reportedly scheduled to travel to Panama but was stopped and questioned by police.
According to the police statement, he indicated that he was travelling to Panama to purchase goods for his business and that he was carrying US$70,000.
Bernard reportedly told the police that the cash he was carrying was obtained from sales from his business and that all of it belonged to him.
However, when he was further questioned, he admitted that US$30,000 belonged to him and the remaining US$40,000 to his business partner.
They say the man maintained that the money was to be used to purchase goods.
However, the police say the explanation raised their suspicions and the cash was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act of 2007.
Following further investigations by members of the Financial Investigations Division the matter was brought before the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.
A decision was reportedly made in that court to return the US$40,000 to the business partner.
The police say the remaining US$30,000 could not be properly accounted for and some irregularities were apparent in relation to its acquisition.
They say the matter was set for trial and a court later ordered that the money be forfeited to the government.