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GOJ Gains from Cash Forfeiture

The forfeiture of approximately one million dollars, denoted in local and foreign currency [JMD$844,806.00, USD$1,080.00, Can $125.00, £30 and CI$1.00] was granted by way of an application made to the  Parish Council for the Corporate Area, on Wednesday January 18, 2017, to forfeit cash seized from Mr. Daraine Clayton in January 2011. The application was made by an authorised officer of the Constabulary Financial Unit who was represented by Counsel from the Financial Investigations Division.

The cash had been seized by officers of the Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division (TCND) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) during an operation conducted at the home of Mr. Clayton. During a search of the premises, the seizing officer in his testimony told the Court that some of the cash was loosely found in a chest of drawers. More cash was found in a storage room, and then again in the living room a “large amount of loose Jamaican money was found”. The officer testified that the money, mainly Jamaican in $100 and $50 notes, was found “all over the living room.”

In addition to the cash, a large quantity of small clear plastic bags, pots and baking soda and two small scales were found in the kitchen. The items were confiscated and when tested at the Government Forensic Laboratory, the scales tested positive for trace levels of cocaine.

Mr. Clayton was unable to satisfactorily account for the cash and indicated that he was a business man. He alleged that the cash found was from his business. However, he failed to provide any documentary evidence at trial to support his account; neither did he call as witnesses any of the several persons said to be aligned to the business who could have supported his account.

The Court, having been satisfied in all the circumstances that the cash was more likely than not obtained from unlawful conduct or intended for use in unlawful conduct, ordered the forfeiture of the cash to the Crown.

US citizen involved in Lottery Scam

In another case which resulted in the forfeiture of cash in favour of the State, police acted on information sometime in May of 2014 when Ms. Dianne Owens, a 60 year old United States citizen, was stopped and searched at the Norman Manley International Airport. She was found with a sum of Fifteen Thousand Two Hundred and Seventy United States Dollars (US15, 270.00). Ms. Owens indicated that she had brought the monies to Jamaica to pay for wedding preparations. She further indicated that she arrived on the last flight and stated that she would be leaving on the first flight out. Two men, who were found to be waiting outside in a car to pick up Ms. Owens, were apprehended and brought to the Flying Squad along with Ms. Owens.

Based on her account for the cash and the purpose of the visit, the officers became suspicious and advised her that the monies would be seized for further investigation, particularly as she said she had never seen her fiancé and that she would be on the island for not longer than a period of 5 hours.

During the interrogation, Ms. Owens changed her account and stated that she had been called and was informed that she was the winner of a lottery. She told the officers that she was advised to send money to several persons in Jamaica in order to receive her winnings. She started receiving cheques to deposit into her account and was instructed to bring the cash which she received to Jamaica. 

Based on these conflicting accounts, an application for forfeiture of the cash was made by an authorised officer of the Constabulary Financial Unit who was represented by Counsel from the Financial Investigations Division.

On January 25, 2017, the Parish Court for the Corporate Area delivered judgment and ordered that the cash of US15, 270.00 be forfeited to the Crown.

Neither Ms. Owens nor the men who were previously held attended Court.

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January 31, 2017

 

For further information contact:

Communication & Public Relations Branch

Ministry of Finance and the Public Service

30 National Heroes Circle

Kingston 4

Tel:(876)932-4656/4660/4655

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact: ElaineOxamendiVicet/KadishaSharp @MOFPJA https://www.facebook.com/mofp.gov.jm

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