US$1.3 million which was found in a freezer at the house of a Jamaican woman in St Catherine must be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act
THE Financial Investigations Division (FID) scored a major victory yesterday when the Supreme Court ruled that US$1.3 million which was found in a freezer at the house of a Jamaican woman in St Catherine must be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The division had brought a claim against Delores Elizabeth Miller and three others to recover assets which include money and properties. Justice Donald McIntosh heard the matter and ordered that the assets, which include properties, a minibus, a motorcycle and money in several bank accounts and building societies, must be forfeited. The assets were frozen by the Supreme Court pending the outcome of the case. One of the properties is at West Cumberland, St Catherine; two are at Hellshire Glades, St Catherine; and two at Plantation Village, St Ann. The judge said the money deposited on the properties must be confiscated. Disappointed with outcome Miller told The Gleaner yesterday that she was not happy with the outcome of the case and was going to take it to the Court of Appeal. She claimed that the money found in the freezer should have been returned because two years had elapsed and the agency had failed to apply for a forfeiture order. The other defendants were Miller's sons, Rohan Anthony Fisher and Ricardo Fisher. The fourth defendant was Karen Vassell, common-law wife of Rohan Fisher. The FID claimed that Miller and the other defendants were joint owners of properties, bank accounts and several motor vehicles. After the money was found in the freezer at Miller's house in 2007, she was charged with money laundering but the case was adjourned sine die (without a date being set). Justice McIntosh said the only reasonable and inescapable inference based on all the evidence was that the properties seized were obtained through unlawful conduct and were therefore recoverable properties under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He said it was incumbent on the defendants to demonstrate evidentially how they lawfully came into possession of the assets seized. The judge said the evidence indicated that the Fishers, who lived in the United States of America, were both involved in the illegal drug trade.