Jean-Ann Panton, the woman at the centre of the multi-billion-dollar fraud scandal rocking Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), was this morning (February 24) denied bail despite a desperate plea from her attorney, Tamika Harris.
During her second court appearance at the Home Circuit Court today, presiding Justice Lorna Shelly Williams advised Panton and her attorney that she was unable to grant bail at this time given the seriousness of the charges laid against her.
As such, Panton will remain in custody until her next court appearance scheduled for April 19.
She was slapped with multiple fraud charges last week by the Financial Investigations Division (FID) including breaches of the Larceny Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the Forgery Act and the Cyber Crimes Act.
Panton was charged after being interviewed by investigators in the presence of her attorney. The police carried out searches on two premises connected to Panton in the Corporate Area on January 20.
The FID noted that the search operations were done in the presence of Panton and her attorney.
In a news release last week, the FID’s chief technical director, Selvin Hay, noted that his team “have the early benefit of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions working closely with the investigators in advising on the evidence development. We’ve had to be deliberate and meticulous in the process of verifying and authenticating the information and intelligence received so far. When the matter is presented in the courts, our submissions must demonstrate clear, irrefutable evidence against all who stand accused”.
Continuing, Hay reported: “As the investigation progresses, we wish to assure the public that the work into unravelling this fraud is thorough and includes collaboration with local and international agencies. Various lines of inquiry are being pursued with a view to identifying all connected parties and bringing them to justice. As the investigation continues we will seek to lay additional charges, not only against Ms Panton but against other perpetrators.”
Panton had signed a confession during interviews with her employers admitting to defrauding almost 40 customers of SSL. Among those defrauded, but not identified in Panton’s original statement, is Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt, who was fleeced of more than US$12 million.
Having confessed to the offence, Panton was fired as an SSL wealth advisor.