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Saturday, September 23, 2023

SSL Jamaica Fraud Investigations Assisted By FBI And Financial Forensic Firm Kroll Associates

The troubled investment business Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) is under investigation for a multimillion dollar fraud, and the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, has suggested that he has reminded the team of investigators looking into the case that Jamaicans demand answers.

The minister acknowledged the public’s desire for the investigation to be over, but he insisted that the inquiries cannot be “compromised” and must move on effectively.

Clarke has also disclosed that the fraud investigation, which was initially reported at SSL in January, is still ongoing. Last week, a team of auditors from the UK-based Kroll Associates arrived in Jamaica.

The minister stated that Kroll will offer cutting-edge technology to help the Financial Investigations Division (FID) in exposing the 13-year fraud and “bringing (the) co-conspirators and accomplices to justice” in his remarks during the 2023–2024 Budget Debate in March of this year.

In response to inquiries on the SSL investigation during Thursday’s “Let’s Connect” virtual meeting with Audrey Marks, the Jamaican ambassador to the United States, Clarke said the investigation into claims of fraud at SSL is difficult.

He claimed to have received a briefing on the investigations from the FID earlier on Thursday, but he did not go into depth about what was revealed to him.

At the Zoom virtual gathering, he reassured members of the Jamaican diaspora, “The investigative team continues to work diligently.”

At the Zoom virtual gathering, he reassured members of the Jamaican diaspora, “The investigative team continues to work diligently.”

“I would have heard about it (the SSL probe) being updated. People who were in my office gave me an update on their location. I am keeping an eye on it, Clarke insisted.

I would have said, ‘Look, this time (it) has to be different,’ to them (the investigators). The people of Jamaica must see that acts of this nature are punished.

“… And I’m representing you (the people) in those meetings by saying, ‘Jamaican people want answers,'” Clarke continued.

According to the minister, when the fraud investigation gets more serious, local law enforcement personnel still receive support from a number of international partners.

The sole person accused thus far in the continuing joint investigation by the FID and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Fraud Squad into the fraudulent actions of SSL is former SSL wealth advisor Jean-Ann Panton.

According to Clarke, “the Financial Investigations Division (FID) had requested assistance from the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) and other overseas partners given the leads that were being explored.

The finance minister stated, “That was the case, that is the case, that the FID is seeking assistance from, or is receiving assistance from, international partners, including the FBI.”

He went on to say: “With regard to where the investigation is right now, we (the Government) have signed a deal with Kroll Associates, and their team has been working on this since their engagement.

In fact, as part of their continuous work, they were in Jamaica this past week, according to Clarke.

He noted the desire of Jamaicans for the investigations to be finished, but he emphasized the probe of financial activities going back to 2012.

Remember that this is a scam that allegedly dates back to 2012 since, as Clarke pointed out, “many of the technological advancements we take for granted today did not even exist in 2012.”

It’s a difficult exercise, he added, to have access to whatever data could be available at the time, sort through it, and package hundreds of thousands of transactions.

In addition, Clarke emphasized that fraud rules “are not as developed as in the United Kingdom and in the United States, that makes it easy to do.”

The minister said, “Due to the age of our larceny act, we must rely on other methods of… investigations leading to prosecutions.”

Aside from those concerns, Clarke reaffirmed his comprehension of the residents’ desire for the case to be settled, both in Jamaica and among the diaspora.

He emphasized that while the investigations “cannot be compromised in any way,” they should move as quickly as they can.

A number of violations of the Larceny Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the Forgery Act, and the Cyber Crimes Act are alleged against Panton, the lone suspect in the SSL fraud.

The former employee of SSL has repeatedly been granted bail; as a result, she was detained in police prison earlier this month until December 6. Several case-related documents are still pending.

With more than 20 years of experience, Panton reportedly admitted to depleting client accounts of funds without their permission.

Usain Bolt, a sprinting legend, is among the at least 30 investors who have been affected, but up until February, the authorities had not said whether the retired athlete had provided a witness statement to them.

The police had also urged victims of fraud to come forward and give statements.



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