ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Convicted police corporal Artis Findley and former Treasury worker Zelma Bramble have to fork out a combined $140,000 in fines and compensation for defrauding the Treasury of about $70,000 in a pension scam over two years ago.
Justice Keith Thom ordered the duo to pay $10,000 each, forthwith. Findley and Bramble met the requirement and escaped a two-year jail sentence in default.
However, the two could still go to jail if they fail to pay $50,000 each within one year through monthly installments of $3,395.83.
Justice Thom said the two must make their first payment on or before August 31 and every month-end thereafter until total restitution is made. Should they miss a single installment the two-year jail sentence would take effect.
An additional $20,000 fine was imposed on each offender as punishment and that sum must be paid within six months, otherwise they have to serve two years in jail.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong and Crown Counsel Shannon Jones represented the Crown.
The fines and restitution order of the court was within the region the DPP suggested and just above what the defence pleaded for.
Even though the scam involved theft of about $70,000, the DPP said interest should be added to cover the period from the time the offence started back in 2009. He also urged the court to impose fines as punishment for the offences committed.
For Findley, his release was bittersweet. He tearfully walked into the arms of relatives who warmly welcomed him. However, given the rules of the Royal Police Force of Antigua & Barbuda, he will be removed from the force he apparently gave 24 years of impeccable service.
A probation officer who conducted a social investigation into Findley’s life said the 45-year-old claimed he was duped by Bramble, who convinced him the transaction through the Treasury was legitimate.
The probation officer said he found no evidence or information to suggest the police officer benefited from the monies.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)