Fri | Nov 24, 2017

Jamaican born pastor to speak at David Smith's sentencing

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2011 | 11:50 AM

Janet Silvera and Damion Mitchell, Gleaner Writers


Jamaican born, US based Windermere pastor, Reverend Ainsley G. Blair has been invited to speak at the sentencing of David Smith, head of Olint Corporation in Orlando Florida, next Thursday.

Blair, who invested US$15 million with Olint, said the funds were intended to construct a well-needed hospital at the former Forum Hotel in Portmore, St Catherine.

The project has been stalled since the pastor lost his investment to the Ponzi scheme.

Smith, who faces up to 20 years in prison, pleaded guilty to 23 counts of fraud on March 30 and also signed a plea bargain with the US Federal Government.

His sentencing is rescheduled for 10 am in Orlando, before Judge Mary S. Scriven, in the US District Court.

“I can now see the light of day, for my dream to come through for the hospital, with the ending of this case,” Blair told The Gleaner.

Smith operated a ponzi scheme which defrauded more than $220 million from thousands of investors in Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida.

Smith has also admitted that he paid returns to investors from their own money, or money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any real profit.

With his guilty plea in the US David Smith saved his wife, Tracy Ann, from prosecution by American authorities.

Smith's plea deal includes a provision to provide US investigators with all the information in his possession about the other persons who participated in the Ponzi scheme.

He could also receive a reduction in his sentence if he provides the prosecutors with assistance in the prosecution of anyone else.

Smith also accepted that US authorities can seize any and all of his assets.

Already the prosecutors have indicated that they will be going after US$128 million, which Smith obtained through wire fraud proceeds and a property, which he purchased in Florida.

They will also go after precious gemstones, metals and jewellery they seized last January and more than US$40,000 which he transferred to a couple in 2006.

Last year, Smith pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges in the Turks and Caicos Islands and was sentenced to just over six years in prison.

He was later arrested by the US in November and brought to Orlando, Florida to face federal charges.