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Cash Plus depositors testify in Hill case

Published:Wednesday | March 13, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

Two depositors in the failed investment scheme Cash Plus Ltd testified yesterday in the Home Circuit Court about attempts they have made since 2007 to get back their money.

The witnesses spoke of meetings they attended at which they were given assurances that Cash Plus' business was legitimate.

They admitted under cross-examination from defence lawyers Valerie Neita Robertson and Deborah Martin that from the documents they signed when they invested their money, they were aware that they were lending their money to Cash Plus at an interest rate of 10 per cent. They said they were aware that the agreement they were entering with Cash Plus carried a high degree of risk. The witnesses said they have not sued Cash Plus for the money.

The depositors were testifying at the trial of former Cash Plus boss Carlos Hill, who is charged with fraudulently inducing and fraudulently attempting to get persons to invest in Cash Plus.

In opening the prosecution's case yesterday, prosecutors Claudette Thompson, Kerri Ann Kemble and Adley Duncan advised the seven-member jury to disregard all they have read or heard about the case.

The prosecutors said they should only return a true verdict according to the evidence presented in court.

A St Catherine taxi operator testified that in August 2007 he accumulated a debt of $300,000 and wanted to pay off the loan. He said he got information about Cash Plus and visited the office to make inquiries. He said he spoke to a sales representative and asked questions about the viability of the investment club.

He said he withdrew $120,000 from a bank and signed a contract with Cash Plus in September 2007. The witness said in November 2007 he got a call from Cash Plus to attend a meeting which he said was chaired by Hill.

Here to stay

The witness testified that Hill was full of composure and spoke for a long time. Hill gave the depositors the assurance that Cash Plus' business was legitimate and reliable and had "come to stay". Hill informed them of present investments and future investments of Cash Plus.

On being asked how he felt when he attended the meeting, he said he felt very good and confident and he respected Hill as a leader.

He said after hearing 'reports' in December 2007, he attempted to get back his money but that the company has not returned those funds.

The second witness, a businessman from St Andrew, said that in 2007 he deposited a total of $500,000 at interest rate of 10 per cent.

He said he deposited $250,000 first in June 2007 and after that he deposited the balance.

He said he got a total of $154,000 from the investment. He received no interest payment in October 2007 and he went to the office to get back his money but was not successful.

In November 2007, he said he was called to a meeting. Hill addressed investors and promised to put in place a system in which the money would be wired from abroad to investors.

Cross-examined by Neita Robertson, who is representing Hill, the witness said when he signed the investment agreement it was captioned 'loan agreement'. He said he understood he was lending his money to Cash Plus to be invested as working capital in Cash Plus business ventures.

He admitted that the document he signed stated that the investment carried a high degree of risk and responsibility for the risk was entirely that of the lender.

He said he understood at the meeting he attended that Cash Plus was having problems with one of the banks in Jamaica. He said he did not sue Cash Plus for the money.

Justice Paulette Williams is presiding at the trial.