Two Million One Hundred Thousand Jamaican Dollars cash ($2,100,000.00) seized by the police in 2015 was ordered to be forfeited to the Crown on Thursday June 14, 2018 by Her Honour Miss Opal Smith, Senior Parish Judge for the Corporate Area Parish Court, Civil Division.
The cash was seized on Thursday April 30, 2015, when members of the Financial Investigations Division (FID)/ Assets Recovery Agency (the Agency) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) Constabulary Financial Unit (CFU) conducted a search operation at the home of Mrs Lan Yan, a Chinese-Jamaican businesswoman. Cash was found in four different locations of an upstairs bedroom hidden in black plastic bags. When questioned by the police as to the source and intended use of the cash, Mrs Lan Yan indicated that the cash was from her business and was intended to be used in her business. The cash was seized by the police under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) on the suspicion that it had derived from unlawful conduct.
The search of Mrs Lan Yan's home arose out of an earlier operation by personnel from the JCF's Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) and the Jamaica Custom's Enforcement Unit on March 17, 2015. On that day, the officers raided Kay's Superstore Limited, a downtown-Kingston business owned and operated by the said Mrs Lan Yan. The search exposed in excess of 34,000 pairs of counterfeit footwear bearing trademarks such as Nike, Adidas, Levis, Reebok, Vans, Converse and Polo among others. Mrs Lan Yan was arrested and charged for multiple counts of Unlawful Use of Trademark and on April 6, 2016 she pleaded guilty to offences in the Corporate Area Parish Court, Criminal Division.
As it relates to the Application for the Forfeiture of Seized Cash, the Learned Senior Parish Judge found that there was sufficient evidence upon which to conclude that the cash had been derived from unlawful conduct. The finding was based on a number of factors highlighted throughout the Agency's case, including the seizure of the counterfeit goods by the police at Mrs Lan Yan's business, the volume of counterfeit items seized, the fact that Mrs Lan Yan had pleaded guilty to the offence and Mrs Lan Yan's failure to give a truthful account. The Court expressed that Mrs Lan Yan had failed to effectively challenge the evidence presented by the Agency.
The matter may not be entirely resolved as yet however. After the Judge had read the judgment, Mr Hugh Wildman, Attorney-at-Law for Mrs Lan Yan indicated to the Judge in open Court that he was appealing the matter and dictated two grounds upon which his appeal was based.
Mrs Lan Yan is also before the Home Circuit Court as the Agency has made an application for a Forfeiture or Pecuniary Penalty Order against her pursuant to section 5 of POCA. The Agency is seeking an Order that Mrs Lan Yan pay to the government over $203 Million Dollars ($203,196,624.22), as her alleged benefit from crime. This matter is set for hearing on July 14, 2018.
July 2, 2018
Communication & Public Relations Branch
Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
30 National Heroes Circle
Tel: (876) 932-4656/4660/4655
Contact: Elaine Oxamendi Vicet/Kadisha Sharp