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Millions spent on real estate, furniture and other household items


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.

 

2. Real Estate

[262] The evidence shows that Mr Elliott amassed several real estate over the period in question which is also not justified by his known source of income or traceable to any additional income. None of these assets were facilitated through any identifiable credit facilities.

I. Purchase of land in 2014 at Lot 2 Knockpatrick (Exhibits 194 & 217).

II. Construction of Catalia Court Apartment Complex at Lot 2 Knockpatrick at an estimated cost of between $115 million and $125 million (Exhibit 231).

III. Purchase of land between 2011 and 2012 at 14 Daley’s Grove volume 978 Fol. 227 for $2,500,000 (Exhibit 192a – 192e).

IV. Construction of 14 Daley’s Grove at an estimated cost of between $70 million and $80 million (Exhibit 231);

V. Purchase of Lot 6 Spur Tree, Manchester, Vol. 938, Fol. 190 in August 2015 at a cost of $3,250,000 Exhibit 247(a) & (b) -247 H. Note (Exhibit 247F) July 2, 2015 $1,600,000 paid (via JN and First Global Bank account); September 30, 2015 – $1,650,000 and (Exhibit 247F) shows where $273,000 was paid on 27/1/2016 from First Global Account (Exhibits 193a & b). It shows where the cash was moved from the JN and Scotia accounts to facilitate the purchase of real estate.

VI. Purchase of Lots 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Hatfield, Manchester in December 22, 2014 assessed value of over $14,000,000, the source of which could not be traced (Exhibits 196a & b; 212 & 213) – Notice of Assessment for Lots 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in Hatfield (Exhibit 208b) Certificate of Title volume 1260 Folio 54 & (Exhibit 208c) – Certificate of Title Volume 1244 Folio 792 and Agreement for sale – (Exhibit 242).

 

3. Cash Receipt Book

[263] Between April 2015 and June 2016 Mr Elliott expended over $13 million in cash payments in respect of construction labour cost. We invite the court to find that these were in relation to the construction of 14 Daley’s Grove and Catalia Court. This inference can be reasonably drawn given that all the monies were payments made by Mr Elliott and also, the payment of $750,000 to TM (name withheld to protect witness) on June 7, 2016 for welding work reflected therein, confirms his evidence that he did welding work at Mr Elliott’s house. Given the proximity of the dates on which the cheques were encashed to the dates of cash payments for construction work stated in the receipt book, we invite the court to draw the inference that these payments were made from the proceeds of his crime.

 

Additional Receipts –

[264] The evidence disclosed several receipts which were admitted into evidence showing where Mr Elliott expended hundreds of thousands of dollars on purchases of household items between September 25, 2013 and November 15, 2013. For example, on November 15th Mr Elliott spent $750,170.00 at Azard’s Decoration, purchasing drapery and valance material, curtains and labour cost associated with same. Other purchases include furniture totalling over $1 million and labour cost for the spa.

 

[266] It is entirely a matter for the tribunal as the arbiter of fact to find, based on the evidence presented, that it was the proceeds gained through Mr Elliott’s criminal conduct which enabled him to pay the associated labour costs and other expenditures enumerated herein. Having regard to all the circumstances outlined herein, we urge the court to so find.

 

Employment History

[267] Table 15 depicts the period of employment for Sanja Elliott at the Manchester Parish Council and the associated emolument between January 2008 and June 2016. It clearly shows that Mr Elliott’s income over the period was approximately $14,017,081.41.

 

4. Records from Tax Administration Jamaica, National Insurance Scheme and Companies Office

[268] The evidence of the witnesses from Tax Administration Jamaica and the National Insurance Scheme indicate that, based on their checks of the system, apart from the annual returns filed by the Manchester Parish Council on behalf of Mr Elliott, no other returns were identified, whether self-employed or by another employer on his behalf.

 

[269] Mrs Inger Hainsley-Bennett of the Companies Office of Jamaica testified that she conducted a search of the company’s registry and business name registry and no registered company or business name was found for Sanja Elliott; he was neither a shareholder, director, nor business owner.

 

5. Source of Income

[270] The Know Your Customer (KYC) documents kept on record for Mr Elliott at the various financial institutions listed below provide the following information in respect of source of income for Mr Elliott. Notably, the numerous transactions against these accounts were not traced to any identifiable, legitimate source of income for Mr Elliott.

• JMMB source of income (SOI): salary between $40,000 and $80,000 monthly, dated September 18, 2007 (Exhibit. 211(d).

• NCB SOI: salary estimated monthly deposit of $10,000 dated June 23, 2011 (Exhibit. 224).

• FGB Customer Information Form: salary greater than $1.5 million; additional income space left blank (Exhibit 228).

• JNBS Self-Employment Verification Form: car salesman dated December 4, 2007 (Exhibit 230c).

 

6. Dissipation of Accounts Consequent on the Arrest of Sanja Elliott

[271] Mr Desmond Robinson testified that the amount of $14,173,123.82 was withdrawn from Mr Elliott’s accounts between June 27, 2016 and September 9, 2016 (date of restraint order) by him and other members of his family.

 

7. Unsubstantiated Claims of Additional Income

[272] Detective Corporal Parnell testified that he enquired of Mr Elliott as to his source of income and was informed that he buys and sells motor vehicles and does draughtsman work. However, he did not produce any information to the police as to any of his clients. We submit that the court can infer from Mr Elliott’s reluctance to provide information or documents, that it was he who asserted this as an attempt to avoid detection. The court recalls the evidence of AF (name withheld to protect witness) who deals in the buying and selling of motor vehicles and is Mr Elliott’s good friend of 15 years, testifying that, “I do not know of Sanja buying and selling cars but he would give me vehicle to sell. Throughout the time I know him, he gave me two vehicles to sell; at the time the vehicles were in his name and I put him on to the person.” Testimony AF, October 14, 2019. Interestingly, AF testified that at the request of Mr Elliott he registered two motor vehicles in his name for Mr Elliott. This evidence is unchallenged.

 

[273] David Cuthbert, the registrar of architects, testified that he conducted a search of the registry of architects and traced no record of membership or pending application for same in respect of Sanja Elliott. Similarly, Richard Campbell, quantity surveyor, testified that he made checks at the Manchester Parish Council and found no records of any building plans or drawings submitted or associated with Sanja Elliott. The evidence is unchallenged.

 

8. Cash Liquidity/Fluidity

[274] We submit that the fluidity in which Mr Elliott uses and accesses cash tends to support he was involved in unlawful conduct money laundering. The evidence shows that Mr Elliott engages heavily in cash-funded transactions but the source of the funds is untraceable.

NEXT: Credit Card Transaction and Luxury Items

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