Judge defers sentencing for convicted fraudster

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By Latrishka Thomas

Despite making full restitution in the amount of $245,000 to the lender, local economist Petra Williams still has to stand in the High Court, later this month, for sentencing on fraud charges.

Yesterday, High Court Justice Stanley John did not appear satisfied with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Anthony Armstrong’s declaration that Williams has repaid the monies owed in full.

The facts of the case are that on February 1st 2009, Williams borrowed almost a quarter million dollars from an insurance executive, Samuel Benjamin, for a specific business transaction. The conditions of the agreement were that she would repay Benjamin five days later.

Williams reportedly told Benjamin that she was about to close a deal on the purchase of land and that upon being approved for a bank loan and receiving the funds, she would instruct the bank to pay out the loan amount to him.

However, when the monies were not forthcoming on the date stipulated, and after the businesswoman reportedly wrote him two cheques, which bounced, Benjamin found out that no loan application by Williams had been made at any bank.

A report was later made to the police, and after their investigations, Williams was detained and later charged with fraudulent conversion and intent to defraud.

The economist, who had earlier pleaded guilty to fraudulent conversions, appeared before the court yesterday morning for sentencing. The prosecution informed the court that full payment has been made to the virtual complainant (VC).

Nevertheless, Justice John was not content with the fact that Williams had lied about applying for a loan to repay the victim.

The judge also questioned what Williams did with the money and was not provided with a detailed answer.

The defendant’s attorney Justin Simon, however, pleaded with the judge to consider that Williams has an 18-year-old son who will be leaving for university shortly and a 71-year-old mother for whom she is also the primary care giver.

Simon also made statements to the effect that Williams is a community benefactor and does not have a permanent job.

The prosecution, on the other hand, provided the judge with a case of reference, which involved former health minister Hilroy Humphreys, accountant Elmeade Jarvis and Jennifer Joseph who had also been charged with fraud linked to the operations of the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) in 2011.

Armstrong alluded to the idea that private and public fraudulent transactions carry different weights.

Justice John therefore stated that he would need time to consider the information presented in the hearing, including the precedence set in the case of the former politician.

The matter was adjourned until June 25th.

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