26 JANUARY 2017
PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance on Wednesday dealt with a 52-year-old man who defrauded five persons out of NAf. 5,234.60 between May 8, 2015, and October 5, 2015.
The Point Blanche prison guard was charged with embezzlement. He had promised his victims to purchase airplane tickets for them for flights to Suriname, but failed to do so. He took their money but never provided his “clients” with tickets. Instead, he used the money to travel to Colombia for medical treatment as he was suffering of heart and liver conditions, P.A. told the Judge.
He promised to pay back the amount within three months after he secured a loan with the bank. However, the suspect, who was not represented by a lawyer, was unable to show any documents to that effect. To date, he only paid back NAf. 1,000 of the embezzled amount.
Prosecutor Nanouk Lemmers did not buy the defendant’s story. She informed the Court that he had been offered an alternative sentence of 60 hours of community service, “but he only worked for 24 hours,” the Prosecutor said.
The suspect said he was willing to do community service after his return from Colombia. “Community service is ancient history,” the Judge told the defendant. “Today we’re going to discuss whether you deserve punishment, and what punishment it should be. If you do not pay, you’ll be sent to jail. Let that be very clear to you,” the Judge cautioned the defendant.
The Prosecutor found it proven that the defendant had used part of the embezzled money for his own purposes. It was held against him that even one year and six month after the crime he had not paid. The Prosecutor said she still did not have much confidence that A. would keep his promise and pay up.
Therefore, the Prosecutor called upon the Court to sentence the defendant to one week suspended, on three years’ probation, with 80 hours of community service, and payment of damages to the tune of NAf. 5,234.60.
The Judge found the case proven, based on the suspect’s confession and the evidence in the case file. He said it was “annoying” that the suspect had not shown any remorse, and had not paid back the outstanding amount, despite his many promises to pay.
In urging him to finally pay up, the Court sentenced the defaulter to one week suspended, on three years’ probation, with 56 days of community service. In case he would not perform the community service, the defendant would have to spend 28 days in prison. He was also ordered to pay NAf. 5,234.60 in damages.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten