FID reports increase in cases being investigated for breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act
The Financial Investigations Division (FID) says there is an increase in the number of cases being investigated and brought before the courts for breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
The revelation comes as the division secured a ruling by the St. Elizabeth Parish Court, which ordered the forfeiture of cash, in the sum of $2 million and $65,000 from a farmer convicted on a gun charge.
The FID said the ruling from the judge marked the culmination of proceedings which began with the seizure of the cash on March 1, 2022, from defendant Burges Clarke, of Broadleaf in St. Elizabeth.
The cash was discovered alongside an illegal firearm.
Mr Clarke was taken into custody and charged with breaches of the Firearms and Proceeds of Crime Acts.
The FID said despite his claim that the funds were proceeds from the sale of pineapples, pumpkins, and marijuana, Clarke failed to substantiate his statement with evidence or provide any names of buyers.
Representatives from the Cannabis Licensing Authority also confirmed that Mr. Clarke had not been issued a licence or any authorization for the cultivation or sale of marijuana.
As a result, a forfeiture application was filed in the St. Elizabeth Parish Court on June 1, 2022.
Subsequent court hearings led to the forfeiture order after neither Mr. Clarke nor his legal representative attended the mandated court sessions.
Commenting on the case, Director of the FID’s Legal Services Branch, Courtney Smith said the forfeiture is a testament to the diligent efforts of law enforcers and the judicial system, in combatting illegal activities.