By Latrishka Thomas
Local economist Petra Williams was yesterday ordered to pay a $10,000 fine or spend 12 months at Her Majesty’s Prison after she pleaded guilty to obtaining money under false pretenses.
The convicted fraudster appeared before Justice Stanley John in the High Court for the second time this month where her sentence was finally read before the court.
Justice John, after considering the fact that Williams has a 71-year-old mother under her care, a son who is to begin his tertiary studies in September and is a community benefactor, ordered the 47-year-old to pay the fine on or before August 30th.
It was Williams’ attorney, Justin Simon QC, who made the compelling argument before the court on June 11th, the judge said.
Williams’ predicament arose when she borrowed $245,000 from insurance executive Samuel Benjamin on February 1st, 2009, for an undisclosed business transaction. She was supposed to repay the money five days later.
However, the community volunteer attempted to defraud by producing two cheques to the victim, which later bounced.
Williams also lied to the insurance executive about having applied for a loan to repay him.
The judge stated that this was clear evidence of deception; however, after considering her character and the fact that she recently repaid the monies in full, he determined that the offence did not warrant a custodial sentence.
Justice John therefore imposed a fine and granted the defence’s request for two months to pay the fine.