Vehicle purchased with too much cash - Sales rep faces prison time

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July 22, 2016

- Sales rep faces prison time

A sales representative from Manchester who facilitated the purchase of a 2010 Honda Stream motor car with cash that exceeded $1 million now faces up to three years' imprisonment.

Giovannie McKenzie, 19, was convicted in the Manchester Parish Court this week. He, along with Richard Smith, 32, a contractor of West End, Negril in Westmoreland, pleaded guilty to conducting cash transaction in excess of $1 million.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), it is unlawful to do an activity or course of activity that involves payment and receipt of cash that exceeds $1 million.

Persons convicted of either offence face up to 10 years' imprisonment if convicted in the circuit court, and may also be fined. If convicted in a parish court, the fine is up to $3 million and/or three years' imprisonment.

Smith and McKenzie were arrested following lottery scamming operations carried out at a house in Chantilly, Westmoreland, where an alleged lottery scammer was taken into custody and a 2010 Honda Stream motor car seized.

Following the seizure of the motor vehicle, Smith turned up at the police station to prove ownership of the vehicle. Carbon copies of the receipts were found at a local car mart in Manchester, where McKenzie worked.

Smith and McKenzie will return to the Manchester Parish Court for sentencing on October 5.

Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers, head of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch, told THE WEEKEND STAR that some business operators are allowing themselves to be manipulated by persons who are bent on breaching the law.

"We have found that there are some business operators who are issuing two receipts in an attempt to disguise the fact that the transaction exceeds $1 million," Chambers said.

He said, too, that the police have detected a pattern which suggests that persons who are seeking to launder money travel to other parishes in a bid to take advantage of business operators who may not be familiar with the law.

"We find that when there are convictions in one area, the scammers move to another jurisdiction," Chambers said.

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