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Flight attendant on fraud charges granted bail

Published:Wednesday | April 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

An Air Jamaica flight attendant was offered bail when she appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday for breaches of the Customs Act.

Sandra Dil Mohammed, who also operates a clothing store, is facing charges of fraud, failure to report transport of cash, and attempting to import goods in violation of the Customs Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In court on Monday, the prosecution was opposed to bail for Mohammed, as there was uncertainty about her home address, that of her business and the fact that she is a green card holder.

The court was told that Mohammed had given four different addresses for the clothing store, none of which could be ascertained.

Albert Morgan, Mohammed's lawyer, in his bail application told Resident Magistrate Vivienne Harris that the accused woman had no previous convictions and was not a flight risk as the Customs Department was in possession of her travel documents.

The defence lawyer expressed surprise that Customs could not ascertain his client's address, as they had visited her sister and daughter who live at a Gwendon Park Avenue address in St Andrew.

$1.5m bail

RM Harris offered Mohammed bail in the sum of $1.5 million, with up to three sureties. As a condition of her bail, she is to reside at her sister's home in St Andrew and report to the Constant Spring Police Station on Tuesdays and Fridays between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The judge also made a fingerprint order for Mohammed and ordered that no travel documents be issued to the accused, nor is she allowed to leave the island. Mohammed is scheduled to return to court on May 10.

Allegations are that about 9 a.m. on April 14, Mohammed arrived at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on a flight from New York, with two pieces of luggage, which she declared to Customs.

When a routine check was performed on the suitcases, one of them was shown to contain newly purchased clothing that had been crushed to give the impression that they were used. Suspicion led to a more detailed search which turned up more than US$11,000 (J$990,000) in Mohammed's luggage.

Following the discovery, she was arrested and charged by officers from the Customs Contraband Enforcement Team.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com