Customs brokers to face High Court on alleged $83K fraud

Rowan Matthew (left) and Foston George
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The final court matter involving fraud-accused Customs brokers Rowan Matthew and Foston George has been committed to the High Court.

The men, who reside in Judges Hill Estate and Pares Village respectively, have been facing multiple charges related to alleged fraudulent activities involving the Customs and Excise Department.

Matthew and George have been implicated in four cases of fraud, all committed to the High Court on different dates this year.

But just as things started to progress, they were summoned to court again on new charges for three different incidents.

The latest accusations encompass electronic forgery, cheating public revenue, and obtaining money by false pretences.

As in the previous cases, it is alleged that they exploited duty-free concession codes from the government to evade tax payments and to siphon funds from their clients.

In these latest charges, they are alleged to have obtained almost $83,000 from as far back as 2017.

This matter was committed in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday to the January 2024 assizes.

In February, one of the cases where they are charged alongside Customs Officer Joesine Christian was committed to the May 2023 assizes.

In that matter, the three defendants are jointly charged with conspiracy to defraud in relation to a 2017 incident at Deep Water Harbour in which they reportedly gained a large sum of money from Customs.

Christian is also charged with cheating the public revenue and corruption in public office.

The two brokers are facing additional charges of obtaining money by false pretences and making a false declaration.

In May, Matthew and another Customs Officer, Jeanette Browne, saw their case sent up to the higher court for similar offences.

Then, in June, two more matters involving George and Matthew were committed to the High Court.

As of Thursday, all of their cases have now been referred to the higher court. The next stage is for the defendants to appear before a High Court judge for arraignment when they will be asked to enter pleas.

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