Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Woman who abandoned fraud trial and fled to US arrested at court

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 12:02 PM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaican woman who left the island midway her fraud trial last November and returned to her home in the United States was this morning arrested when she appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Winsome McFarlane was taken into custody by the police on a warrant ordered by Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece last November.

According to her attorney, McFarlane was escorted from the courtroom and taken to a holding area for several minutes before she was brought back in handcuffs.

READ: Woman who abandoned fraud trial located in Florida

McFarlane, who is believed to be the owner of a pharmacy that operated in St Ann, was jointly charged along with Heleen Thoms for allegedly defrauding the National Health Fund of over $600,000.

The two women are charged with forgery, uttering forged documents, obtaining money by false pretence, and conspiracy to defraud.

Thoms has since been freed of all charges after Wolfe Reece ruled that she had no case to answer.

Their trial began in 2013 and took a bizarre turn last November when McFarlane failed to show up after a short court break, leaving her attorney and court officials puzzled.

Checks by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) revealed that she left the island onboard a flight to Florida, in the United States, the same day she disappeared from court.