Fri | May 20, 2022

FID going after assets of Manchester businesswoman convicted of money laundering

Published:Friday | May 13, 2022 | 10:19 AM
The FID says it has since commenced the process for the Supreme Court to consider and assess Sterling’s full benefit from her criminal conduct/lifestyle, which it estimates to exceed J$100M.

The Financial Investigations Division (FID) has initiated forfeiture proceedings against Manchester businesswoman Eva Mae Sterling, who was convicted on money laundering charges.

Sterling, 61, pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in a transaction involving criminal property in contravention of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Last week, she was fined $300,000 or nine months imprisonment on one count by the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court and 12 months imprisonment – suspended for 24 months – on the second count.

The FID says it has since commenced the process for the Supreme Court to consider and assess Sterling's full benefit from her criminal conduct/lifestyle, which it estimates to exceed J$100M.

She was granted bail in the sum of $700,000.

The matter is set to be mentioned in the Home Circuit Court on May 17 for asset forfeiture proceedings.

Sterling's son, Nicholaus Chang, and sister, Marline Ledford, both business proprietors facing similar money laundering charges, pleaded not guilty when they appeared before the court with the businesswoman.

Chang and Ledford are scheduled to return to court on June 15.

In commenting on the case, the FID's Principal Director, Keith Darien said, “Families must take due care when managing or investing funds for their relatives especially when the source of funds is unknown or questionable. It is unfortunate when you have to prosecute so many members of one family but we stand resolute in our commitment to ensuring that crime does not pay.”

Darien said the FID will utilise POCA to pursue facilitators of money laundering, particularly wealth generated from transnational organised crime activities.

“We have observed the unfortunate abuse of a booming real estate sector for laundering of the proceeds of crime. The FID along with other law enforcement partners is proactively monitoring the sector to mitigate its elevated money laundering vulnerabilities.

“Partnership is important in achieving our mandate and we must thank our overseas law enforcement counterparts for their collaboration with the FID on this significant financial crime investigation which occurred in the USA and Jamaica.”

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