Former Customs Broker convicted of fraud ordered to compensate victim

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By Latrishka Thomas

[email protected]

Ex-Customs broker Jairo Ephraim who was convicted of fraudulent conversion was yesterday sentenced to pay the victim more than twice the amount he swindled.

Earlier this week, the Jennings resident admitted that he had defrauded a man who trusted him to clear his vehicle through Customs.

The victim imported a car from Japan which arrived in July 2020 and procured the services of the defendant.

The complainant gave Ephraim EC$5,500 to carry out the process and, at one point in September, he also reportedly handed over to Ephraim the documents needed to clear the vehicle from the Deep Water Harbour.

After some time had passed, several calls from the complainant to the accused went unanswered.

It was after those failed attempts that the victim reported the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Ephraim initially pleaded not guilty to the offence but just this week he came to court prepared to change his plea, with a cheque for EC$5,500 in hand.

The cheque was given to the complainant so that he could attempt to cash it and report back to the court yesterday at the defendant’s sentencing hearing.

On the stand yesterday, the victim told the court that the bank refused to process the cheque and told him to return it.

The victim also shared that the incident had put him in debt because he was forced to borrow money from Courts Ready Cash and also had to enter a payment plan to remove his vehicle from the port.

Having added up all of the monies that the complainant owed, the court ordered Ephraim to compensate him a total of $14,000.

Ephraim must pay at least $1,000 every month or he could spend six months in jail for every default in payment.

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