Court hears prisoner scamming potential car buyers
A 69-year-old man who, investigators contend conspired with a prison warden and an incarcerated man to con Jamaicans interested in purchasing vehicles, was on Wednesday denied bail in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.
Clive McLauren pleaded not guilty to obtaining money by means of false pretence, and conspiracy to defraud and forgery. It is alleged that on April 12, police officers attached to the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch conducted a sting operation on Water Lane in Kingston when McLauren was seen collecting money from the complainant. The accused was then approached by the police officers. When asked his reason for collecting money, he said, "Is a prisoner name [prisoner's name] outta Horizon Adult Remand Centre mi a collect it fa." He was then cautioned and the money, determined to be $20,000, was taken from his hand.
McLauren was further asked why he was collecting money on behalf of the prisoner, when he replied, "Is a bandooloo car ting boss."
It is alleged that McLauren further shared with the police that he was going to hand over the money to a correctional officer at the prison on behalf of the inmate and said he had collected money from several other people before for the same individual. However, in a bail application before Chief Parish Judge Chester Crooks, attorney-at-law Orville Morgan submitted that his client be admitted to bail on humanitarian grounds as he suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.
"The complainant is saying that she wanted to purchase a motor vehicle and had been in communication with the accused. However, one of the persons who monies were handed over to, they assisted the police in terms of setting up some sting operation and he handed over $20,000 to the accused. So, really there is not much investigation that was carried out on this matter," Morgan argued.
Prosecutors indicated that they are awaiting a ruling from the director of public prosecutions to determine whether McLauren's matter be transferred to a higher jurisdiction as he is considered a habitual offender. This is his third time before the courts, having been sentenced in 2019 by Crooks. Yesterday, Crooks said he was not minded to grant bail and instructed the police to make a note that McLauren receive medical attention when necessary. The accused was remanded until July 21.