Financial Investigations Bureau (FIB) detectives succeeded before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court with an application to have $410,100 forfeited and deposited into the Seized Assets Fund (SAE).
The cash was seized in December 2019 from a 43-year-old chartered accountant of Central Trinidad, under Section 38 of the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The accountant came under the scrutiny of FIB detectives after attempting to convert cotton notes to the polymer during the demonetisation process at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT).
He entered the CBTT on December 29th and was told to return with supporting documents and to prove his source of funds. He later returned on December 31st without any credible documents and also indicated that the money represented winnings at a casino and his savings.
Lead Financial Investigator, PC Harris, of the FIB, continued investigations into the ownership of the money where several discrepancies were detected and pursued.
It was also discovered 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), Chief Magistrate Earle-Caddle granted a Forfeiture Order to have the sum of cash and any interest that would have accrued be 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.
The state was represented by Attorney-at-Law, Jennifer Osbourne, of the DPP’s office, while the accountant was represented by Attorney-at-Law Suneesh Singh.