Court grants order to forfeit $400,000 from accountant

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle has ordered that $410,100 seized from a 43-year-old accountant of Central Trinidad under Section 38 of the Proceeds of Crime Act will be forfeited to the State and deposited into the Seized Assets Fund (SAE).

Detectives of the Financial Investigations Bureau (FIB) made the application before the magistrate on Friday.

In a release the police said the cash was seized in December 2019 when the accountant came under the scrutiny after attempting to convert cotton notes to the polymer notes during the demonetisation process at the Central Bank.

It said the accountant went to the bank on December 29 and was told to return with supporting documents and to prove his source of funds. He later returned on December 31 without any credible documents and said the money represented winnings at a casino and his savings.

Investigations into the ownership of the money revealed several discrepancies. Investigators later found out that the accountant had two registered businesses and did not pay any taxes for either the business or himself.

After the hearing of the application applied for by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Earle-Caddle granted a forfeiture order to have the sum of cash and any interest accrued forfeited and deposited into the SAF.

The court found that the cash, more likely than not, derived from the specified offences of money laundering and tax evasion.