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JAM | Mar 2, 2023

Jamaica makes major dents in financial crime for February

/ Our Today

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The Financial Investigations Division (FID) has announced that it has successfully secured the forfeiture of approximately J$1.5 million and US$20,000 in four separate cases across Jamaica in a two-week period spanning February 3 and February 16.

Using the civil provisions under Section 79 of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the forfeitures were achieved without the need for criminal convictions, by claiming the cash was either earned from or intended for use in, criminal conduct.

The cases involved a range of alleged criminal conduct currently under investigation, including breaching various sections of the POCA, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, rape, attempting to pervert the course of justice, and lottery scamming.

Keith Darien, principal director of investigations at the Financial Investigations Division (FID). (Photo: Contributed)

Keith Darien, the FID’s principal director of investigations, praised the Jamaica Constabulary Force, particularly the Constabulary Financial Unit, for their vigilance and competence in their work on the ground, and commented on the success of the cases.

He said: “It is rare when criminal activities do not have a financial element. Often times perpetrators of crime are seeking to gain or expand their wealth through different illegal undertakings. In one of these February cases, the accused tried using money to keep his victim and her family quiet. Actions like these will most certainly be met with punishment and any assets used in the commission of the crime or represent the proceeds of crime, will be pursued by the FID and forfeited to the government.”

“We encourage the public to shun criminals and the lifestyle sponsored by their ill-gotten gains. Instead, you’re invited to partner with the FID and share with us what you know about illegal financial activities,” Darien added.

Courtney Smith, director of legal services at the FID, emphasised the importance of the public becoming more familiar with the POCA and being guided by it to avoid breaching it.

Smith encouraged people to visit the FID website or do online searches to read and understand POCA, as it is powerful legislation that authorised agencies will not hesitate to apply.

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