Tue | Nov 30, 2021

St Andrew businessman ordered to forfeit over $17 million to gov’t

Published:Thursday | April 15, 2021 | 3:04 PM
Police investigators seized $17,175,000 at Graham’s property in Smokey Vale in 2012 as they executed a search warrant. Graham could not provide proof of how those funds were acquired, according to FID.

St Andrew businessman Winston Graham is to forfeit over $17.1 million to the Government following a successful court application by the Financial Investigations Division (FID).

The order was handed down in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court (Civil Division) at Sutton Street last Friday by Justice Stephanie Orr.

In addition to the forfeiture, Graham was also ordered to pay a part of the legal expenses incurred by the FID.

Police investigators seized $17,175,000 at Graham’s property in Smokey Vale in 2012 as they executed a search warrant.

Graham could not provide proof of how those funds were acquired, according to FID.

The cash was seized along with a 2012 BMW motor car.

FID then sought the forfeiture of the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Graham’s run-in with the law began on June 7, 2012.

On that date, narcotics cops, acting on information, obtained a search warrant under the Dangerous Drugs Act to search a property on Deanery Drive in St Andrew belonging to Franklyn Thompson.

Upon reaching the premises, a silver Toyota Mark X motor car attempted to exit but was prevented from doing so by the cops.

Graham, who was the driver, and Thompson, who was the passenger, were seen in the car.

FID says the vehicle was searched and 10 parcels of cocaine weighing just over 22lbs were discovered hidden in the trunk.

Subsequently, the narcotics police obtained a warrant to search Graham’s property, where the money was found.

After a lengthy court proceeding, FID’s application for forfeiture was upheld.

Reacting to the outcome, FID’s Director of Legal Services Courtney Smith said the case should send a strong message of deterrence to anybody involved in crime or planning to enter a life of crime with the intention of benefitting from that crime.

“Jamaica has been preparing itself and bolstering its capabilities to deal with criminal activities and the proceeds of crime. State agencies have been working together to reduce the benefit from crime generally.

“Regardless of the outcome from the criminal charges, the proceeds of crime aspect of it can proceed and will usually yield a result similar to what we have in this instance,” said Smith.

In 2020, the FID successfully forfeited over $4.83 million and US$22,500 in cash.