Fri | Sep 22, 2017

I'm not feeling well, says attorney on trial for allegedly defrauding clients $2.3m

Published:Wednesday | November 23, 2016 | 11:54 PM

 Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The fraud trial of Kingston attorney Arlene Beckford had to be adjourned in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court after she complained of being unwell.

Beckford went on trial this morning after pleading not guilty to defrauding two of her clients more than $2.3 million.

She is facing five counts of fraudulent conversion for allegedly diverting the clients' money to her personal use.

In the first count of the indictment, prosecutor Noelle Gayle Miller charged that in July 2012 Beckford collected $1.8 million from a St Catherine couple to pay over in stamp duty and processing fee for a property they were purchasing in the parish.

However, the prosecutor charged that instead of making the payments, Beckford diverted the funds to her "own use and benefit."

In the remaining four counts, Gayle Miller alleged that Beckford failed to turn over approximately $572,000 to another St Catherine couple following the sale of a property in the parish.

Before the trial started, Beckford applied for an adjournment, complaining to Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece that she was in some physical discomfort.

Wolfe Reece denied the request, saying she was never informed of this before her decision to proceed with the trial.

Further, the judge said she had to taken into consideration the fact that the complainants have attended court quite often.

Midway the testimony of Teesa Norman, one of the complainants, the attorney again complained that she was feeling ill.

Wolfe Reece initially adjourned the trial for 30 minutes, but indicated, on the resumption, that it would continue tomorrow.