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$23.9m deposited into one account over three years


THE $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial ended on Friday, May 15, 2020 with the conviction of main accused 35-year-old Sanja Elliott, the corporation’s former deputy superintendent of road and works; his wife, Tasha-gaye Goulbourne-Elliott; two former employees of the corporation, David Harris, secretary/manager and acting chief executive officer, and Kendale Roberts, temporary works overseer; as well as Dwayne Sibblies, a former employee of Sanja Elliott.

Those freed at the end of the trial were Sanja Elliott’s mother, Myrtle Elliott, and former commercial bank teller Radcliff McLean.

In January, Sanja Elliott’s father and husband of Myrtle Elliott, Elwardo, was the first to be freed.

The charges included conspiracy to defraud, engaging in a transaction that involves criminal property, several counts of possession of criminal property, facilitating the retention of criminal property, obtaining money by means of false pretence, causing money to be paid out by forged documents, an act of corruption, and uttering forged documents.

The Jamaica Observer continues its publication of the Crown’s closing submission, prepared by prosecutors Channa Ormsby, Patrice Hickson, and Jamelia Simpson, as well as Kamesha Campbell, attorney on fiat from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, and presented to the court in the case against the seven.

 

[251] We submit that, if the tribunal of fact accepts the evidence of the witnesses that they provided the proceeds from these cheques to Mr Elliott, the issues left for the court’s consideration are: Whether or not the monies in Mr Elliott’s accounts constitute criminal property, whether in whole or in part? Whether the real estate in Mr Elliott’s possession constitutes criminal property? Whether at the time of possessing these properties, Mr Elliott knew or had reasonable grounds to believe that they were criminal property?

[252] The Crown submits that the court, in considering the above questions and whether the properties constitute Mr Elliott’s benefit from his criminal conduct, may draw reasonable inferences from the following circumstances:

 

1. Large Cash Deposits

[253] The evidence shows that between 2013 and June 2016, large deposits of cash were consistently made to Mr Elliott’s accounts totalling $48,792,130, which was spread across mainly four savings accounts held by him. The financial records in evidence show that prior to this, the accounts did not attract any significant cash inflow and remained relatively static, until around the latter part of 2012 when the pattern and frequency of the deposits changed. At this time, a vast amount of large cash deposits started entering the accounts. This change in pattern and volume is not explained or traceable to Mr Elliott’s employment at the council or any other identifiable legitimate source. The evidence discloses that the change in the state of affairs was commensurate with the promotion of Mr Elliott to deputy superintendent of roads and works. It was around this time that his financial fortunes changed significantly. An analysis of the financial records reveal the following:

 

Jamaica National Account JMD – Savings -11181892

[254] In respect of Mr Elliott’s savings account the transaction history for the period January 1, 2008 to September 9, 2016 shows that prior to June 2013 there were no activities on this account and as at June 10, 2013, the account had an opening balance of $0.00. It is of significance that between June 10, 2013 and July 7, 2016, a total of $23,918,300 was deposited to the account. These deposits were made by Mr Elliott and nothing is revealed as to its source.

 

First Global Account – JMD -Savings

[255] The evidence shows that this account was opened in February 2013. Based on the transaction history from February 2, 2013 to September 9, 2016, the sum of $18,370,700 was deposited to it. Like in the case of the JN account above the deposit slips do not identify the source of funds.

 

[256] Tables 9-12 reflect transactions from the two named accounts above in which Mr Elliott deposited the proceeds of his criminal conduct which form the basis of the counts herein.

 

[257] We submit that tables 9-12 reveal the following indicators from which the court can infer that the monies deposited to the accounts therein were the benefits from Mr Elliott’s criminal conduct, thus constituting criminal property for the following reasons:

1. That these are all large cash deposits with no identifiable sources of income as they are not supported by Mr Elliott’s known legitimate income.

2. These large deposits are spread over the period under indictment and are parcelled across several of Mr Elliott’s accounts, all of which show a similar trend and pattern.

3. That the manner, frequency and amounts involved tend to support an effort to avoid detection of criminal conduct.

4. The pattern of these being consistent large cash deposits tends to support the availability of a steady and available stream of cash which is inconsistent with or contradictory to the nature and operation of a draughtsman or someone engaged in buying and selling motor vehicles.

5. The parcelling/breaking up of larger amounts into smaller bank deposits of the amounts being deposited on the same day, or in close succession in the same account or across multiple accounts is indicative of an attempt to avoid detection and money laundering.

6. Transferring money from bank to bank or from account to account.

7. The pattern of the deposits is consistent with the pattern of encashment outlined by the witnesses (ie the number of cheques encashed on a given day).

 

[258] By way of illustration, Table 10 depicting large cash deposits for 2014 shows that between June 25, 2014 and June 27, 2014, the sum of $2,700,000 was deposited across the two accounts. The overall transactions on the accounts show where cash is being split across the accounts almost in an identical manner, either on the same day or days apart. It captures the manner and frequency in which the sums are paid to the account as well as the activities on the other accounts over the same period. It is it noted that there is a pattern whereby large cash deposits in similar amounts are made and the records identify no traceable income. It is also observed that the deposits are spread across Mr Elliott’s accounts utilising the same pattern, frequency and amounts. In addition, the manner of the deposits tends to support the availability of a constant stream of cash which was available to Mr Elliott.

 

[259] We submit that the circumstances described by the witnesses who have testified that Mr Elliott gave them cheques to encash for work they had not done, then return the proceeds to him, have all provided the answer to make the court feel sure that Mr Elliott was engaged in obtaining money by false pretence or an act of corruption or some other unlawful conduct and thereafter depositing the criminal property.

 

[260] The court recalls the testimony of NH and AF (names withheld to protect the witnesses) that they would encash two cheques sometimes per day. Also, the court has heard evidence that unencashed cheques bearing the same date were found in Mr Elliott’s Suzuki Jimny motor vehicle which TB, NH and AF have all said they were not owed money and in essence were not aware of the cheques. What was Mr Elliott going to do with these? It is from these circumstances that the court, as the tribunal of fact, can reasonably infer that Mr Elliott was engaged in criminal conduct [and] that the property herein are the benefits from that conduct.

Tables 9, 10, 11 & 12 show large cash deposits of Sanja Elliott for the years 2013-2016

NEXT: The acquisition of real estate without justifiable income

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