The Star (Jamaica)

‘If it smells foul ...’

Judge hits out against the lending of bank accounts to facilitate fraud


Amazed by the number of persons who have indicated to her that they loaned their accounts to other people, unaware that they were facilitati­ng criminal activities, Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque says she refuses to believe that people are so naïve.

“I don’t know why the citizens of the Corporate Area don’t realise how foul it smells when people just want to use your account,” the judge said on Tuesday.

Her comments come on the heels of a defendant, Alwayne Watson, telling the court that he shared his banking account informatio­n with a female, who told him her account was frozen. Watson, a taxi operator, has been charged with unlawfully making available device or data to facilitate the commission of an offence, conspiracy to defraud, and obtaining money by means of false pretence. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

It was reported by the complainan­t that between November and December 2020, she paid over $172,000 to Watson for the purchase of wigs, eyelashes and mannequin heads that was being advertised on social media. To date, she has not received the items nor was her money returned. However, Watson in his defence, indicated that he is a taxi driver and one of his female passengers who sells the cosmetic items asked him if she could use his accounts for transactio­n.

“So she tell you she wanted to use your account for business and nothing never sound strange about that?” Judge ColeMontaq­ue asked.

“No, because me a carry her round and she a tell me what happen to her,” he replied.

The judge, however, suggested that Watson was being wilfully blind.

“Many persons are coming to say this sort of thing. I refuse to believe that people are so naïve. So anybody just wants your account and money can just run through accounts without questionin­g it, and there is nothing that seems peculiar about it? Accounts are just up for the grabs like that? That’s how people launder money and I know we are heavily influenced by North American culture; we see this on movie. That is how criminals works, them use other people account,” the judge said.

Watson was made the subject of a fingerprin­t order. A social enquiry report was also requested to assist in his sentencing when he returns to court on July 18.

– T.T.

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