Former SSL employee remanded
Kingston, Jamaica – The former employee of the investment firm, Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), Jean-Ann Panton, has been remanded in custody until February 24 after she appeared in the Supreme Court on Friday on several charges arising from the alleged multi-million dollar fraud at the company whose clients included eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
The Financial Investigations Division (FID), which confirmed that Bolt had been defrauded of US$12.7-million, said that Panton has been charged with breaches of the Larceny Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the Forgery Act and, the Cyber Crimes Act.
Her attorney, in making an application for bail had submitted that her client cannot walk and is unable to stand. However a medical report that was submitted did not indicate that.
She had earlier this week been interviewed by investigators in the presence of her attorney after searches were conducted on two premises connected to her on January 20.
“This resulted in the seizure of documents and electronic devices to include telephones which, along with other evidence, continue to be thoroughly analysed,” said the FID, which is being assisted in its investigations by Police Fraud Squad, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies.
“As indicated in a previous communication, the case is complex for three main reasons; the number and types of accounts affected; the number and types of transactions conducted on the affected accounts; and the length of time (over a decade) during which questionable actions were taken against some of the affected accounts,” the FID said in its statement.
FID’s chief technical director, Selvin Hay, is quoted in the statement as saying “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.
“We have the early benefit of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution working closely with the investigators in advising 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,” Hay added.
Panton is reported to have signed a confession during interviews with her employees admitting to defrauding almost SSJ 40 customers.
The FID said that while it has been able to confirm that Bolt had been defrauded of the money, it is still at this time unable to quantify the exact amount which has been defrauded from all the affected accounts.
“However, with respect to Mr Usain Bolt, the sum of his investment has been identified and authenticated. Despite the matter being in the public domain for just over a month, it is still very early in the process. Statements continue to be collected and interviews conducted,” said the FID.
Attorneys representing the Olympian and sprint world record holder, had in a letter dated January 16, 2023, demanded that the investment firm returns US$12.7 million to his account within 10 days or face civil and criminal action. (CMC)