Four more charged in Trinidad flood re­lief scam

Stabroek News Sunday - - REGIONAL NEWS -

(Trinidad Guardian) Four more peo­ple have been im­pli­cated in a flood re­lief grant scam. Po­lice sources said Fri­day that Fraud Squad de­tec­tives ar­rested and charged four new sus­pects and one of the ten that were pre­vi­ously charged over the scam on Thurs­day.

The group was ex­pected to ap­pear in the Port-ofS­pain Mag­is­trate’s Court to an­swer the charges on Fri­day but po­lice were forced to resched­ule their court ap­pear­ance as it co­in­cided with the pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry into the mur­der of for­mer In­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tor Dana See­ta­hal, SC.

Dur­ing weekly hear­ings of the See­ta­hal case, the court does not fa­cil­i­tate peo­ple mak­ing their first ap­pear­ance in court due to strin­gent se­cu­rity mea­sures put in place for See­ta­hal’s pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry. The ac­cused fraud­sters are ex­pected to ap­pear in court to­mor­row.

Last Mon­day, 10 peo­ple, in­clud­ing a Min­istry of So­cial Devel­op­ment and Fam­ily Ser­vices em­ployee, 3am, six men wear­ing masks stormed the house and snatched the fam­ily. were charged with fraud in con­nec­tion with flood re­lief grants. They are Far­rah Han­iff, Heather Grif­fithBen­jamin, Michael Alexis, Carol Christo­pher-Ben­nett, Deb­bie Critchlow, Adele­phia Lal­lion, Ajay Ram­lakhan, Ram­lakhan’s com­mon-law wife Man­disa Ste­wart, Dar­ren Bal­con and his com­mon-law wife Ro­hini Per­sad.

Han­iff, a clerk at the Min­istry of So­cial Devel­op­ment and Fam­ily Ser­vices, is solely fac­ing five charges for forg­ing and ut­ter­ing five of the min­istry’s emer­gency re­lief and re­cov­ery as­sis­tance forms which were used to ob­tain the grants. She is jointly charged with Grif­fith-Ben­jamin, Alexis, Christo­pherBen­nett, Ram­lakhan and Ste­wart for fraud­u­lently ob­tain­ing the grants by pre­tend­ing to be vic­tims of flood­ing, which dev­as­tated parts of La Hor­quetta, St He­lena and Kelly Vil­lage and Ca­roni in mid-Oc­to­ber.

Critchlow, Lal­lion, Bal­con and Per­sad are charged sep­a­rately with fraud­u­lent ob­tain­ing two grants that were paid to Bal­con and Critchlow. The of­fences are al­leged to have taken place be­tween Oc­to­ber 25 and Novem­ber 13.

Since the flood­ing on Oc­to­ber 19, the min­istry has re­port­edly dis­trib­uted over $80 mil­lion in re­lief The mother said there has been no ran­som de­mand and no word from the grants to over 5,000 fami- lies across T&T. Each Sook­nanans. The Sook­nanans live at Jhu­lai Branch Trace, Penal Rock Road. house­hold re­ceived tween $15,000 be- and $20,000 de­pend­ing on they had chil­dren. if

Aaron Sook­nanan

Paula Sook­nanan

Ri­cardo and and Is­abella Sook­nanan

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