Recovery agency seeks to get $1b from St Ann woman
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Assets Recovery Agency, with the assistance of the United States government, is seeking to recover assets amounting to more than $1 billion from a St Ann woman and five of her relatives who are facing charges of money laundering.
Businesswoman Carol Lawrence-Austin, along with her other co-accused, appeared in the St Ann's Bay Resident Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
Defence lawyers Tom Tavares-Finson and Christian Tavares-Finson made bail applications for them and they were each granted bail in the sum of $5 million with sureties.
They are to return to court on June 28.
The other accused are Mavis Grant, Patrice Christie, Gentles Mott, Paula Barrett and Eustan Gillespie.
It is being alleged that Lawrence- Austin's sister Jean Therese Brown who lived in Maryland, United States (US), along with others, operated a massive drug-trafficking ring in several states in the US.
Couriers were used to take large sums of money from the US to Jamaica and it is further alleged that the monies were used to purchase motor vehicles and several properties in St Ann.
The Assets Recovery Agency is seeking to confiscate eight properties in St Ann and two motor vehicles and the case is pending in the Supreme Court.
Witnesses from the US will be coming to the island to testify at the money laundering trial.
Following investigations by the Financial Investigations Division, the six accused who are from Bamboo, St Ann, were arrested and charged.
Brown is serving a 37-month prison sentence in the US after pleading guilty in 2010 to bulk cash smuggling. According to court documents, Brown arranged for couriers to smuggle more than half a million dollars from Baltimore to Jamaica on Christmas Day in 2008.