HDC: 3 held for trying to defraud contractors

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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Three suspects have been arrested for attempting to defraud the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) and its contractors.

An HDC press release said that on April 30, two contractors visited the HDC’s head office with fraudulent documents including the forged signature of HDC managing director Jayselle McFarlane.

They presented the documents to the HDC’s head of security, who spotted the fraud and alerted police officers who were at the HDC’s premises. The officers later arrested two suspects in the HDC’s carpark and a third who was in a parked vehicle.

Fraud Squad police officers are now continuing investigations.

The HDC said a transaction occurred on April 29, when the suspects purporting to be bonafide HDC employees, made presentations to two HDC contractors who gave them a cheque. The contractors did so even after suspecting the men to be fraudsters.

On April 30, the contractors convinced the three to visit the HDC head officer with the promise of additional funds. The suspects were then arrested.

Commenting on the issue, Housing Minister Camille Robinson-Regis expressed disappointment at the attempted deception which she added could have sullied the name and reputation of the HDC had the efforts been successful.

She thanked the HDC’s head of security and the police for their role in the arrests.

The release said that HDC chairman Noel Garcia also commended the corporation’s head of security and police officers.

HDC managing director Jayselle McFarlane said she was appalled by the incident, expressing concern that her signature would be used in this way. She urged contractors to refrain from conducting financial transactions in locations other than HDC buildings.

She reminded that all business deals initiated by the HDC are done at its head office at South Quay, Port of Spain; its south office at Mc Gillivary Street, San Fernando and its Maloney office in Jacana Avenue, Maloney Gardens, D’abadie.

The HDC said over the past few weeks, it has observed a resurgence in hopeful homeowners being swindled by fraudsters who falsely claim they can provide HDC homes in return for cash.

Placement for government-subsidised homes is completed by a random selection draw that is broadcast live to the public. As a result, the HDC reminded that it does not provide houses in exchange for cash.