UPDATE: More arrests likely in Cross Roads tax office fraud scheme
Law enforcement officials say more arrests are likely in an ongoing investigation into a major fraud scheme at the Cross Road tax office in St Andrew.
Earlier today, four cashiers were arrested during a series of operations as part of the probe.
Head of the Revenue Protection Division Major Johanna Lewin says a St Andrew businesswoman was also taken into custody.
The operations were conducted with assistance from the Financial Investigations Division and the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).
Speaking with The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre this morning, Major Lewin said the investigation began after her agency was alerted by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) about suspicious activities involving one cashier.
She says quick action by her agency last week resulted in the cashier, Dermain Shakespeare, being arrested and charged with falsification of accounts.
"Arising out of that, further investigation was conducted and we realised that the scheme involved others, both internally and externally," Lewin said.
As a result, today's operations were carried out.
Shakespeare was remanded when he appeared in court on January 20.
It is alleged that on January 10 while auditors from TAJ were conducting a surprise audit, a cheque with certain irregularities was found in the possession of Shakespeare and the endorsement indicated that this cheque had been used to pay taxes in excess of $400,000 in respect of a particular taxpayer.
In performing check off procedures, auditors found that Shakespeare also had excess cash of over $470,000.
Subsequent investigations carried out by the RPD, revealed that the taxpayer whose information appeared on the reverse side of the cheque had in fact made a cash payment at Shakespeare’s station.
On his second court appearance on January 24, Shakespeare was charged with an additional offence of larceny as a servant and offered bail.
Meanwhile, the TAJ says the arrest of four cashiers at the Cross Roads branch of the Inland Revenue Service will not affect operations next week.
The Cross Roads tax office was closed for most of today as law enforcement authorities conducted searches at the office.
Chief Corporate Communications Officer at TAJ, Meris Haughton says the Cross Roads branch will put in place appropriate measures to ensure that persons can conduct business despite the loss of the employees.