Tibbetts’ confiscation order is US$143,372

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie has ordered US$143,372 be confiscated from the assets of Patrick Tibbetts.

The ruling follows his conviction last year for money laundering.

The Chief Justice’s ruling was delivered yesterday by Mrs. Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale, who is an Acting Judge of the Grand Court.

There has been a restraining order on Tibbetts’ realisable assets since proceedings against him began. But the money will not be confiscated immediately.

Defence Attorney Simon Dixon pointed out that Tibbetts has appealed his conviction to the Privy Council. He therefore asked for a suspension of the confiscation order until that appeal is heard.

Solicitor General Cheryll Richards agreed that the question of time should be dealt with by the Chief Justice in chambers later.

Confiscation is in addition to sentence and pertains to the benefit derived from the offence.

In February 2005, a jury convicted Tibbetts of assisting two key Cash4Titles figures to retain the proceeds of criminal conduct after the legitimate US-based auto loan company turned into a Ponzi scheme in the late 1990s.

Tibbetts was sentenced in March 2005 to serve three years imprisonment, but he did not go into custody until after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal (Caymanian Compass, 19 November 2005).

The confiscation hearing was put off, in part because of that appeal and partly because of the time it would take to determine assets.

There were hearings earlier this month as to what those realisable properties were.

Investigating officers listed them, in US dollars, as totalling US$727,898.79.

Of this amount, $510,804 represented his share in land in the Sister Islands; $162,000 as his 80 per cent of the company that operates Fidel Murphy’s Irish Pub and Restaurant; $37,578 in a pension plan; a vehicle worth $16,625. The only CI figure was a bank account with $891.79.

In one of the earlier hearings, Mr. Dickson acknowledged that confiscation orders are made to deter other people from laundering the proceeds of criminal conduct.

But he asked the court to consider that anyone seeing Tibbetts’ current situation would find that deterrent enough. At age 53 he had lost his unblemished character, his professional reputation was destroyed and he had not been allowed to leave the jurisdiction since 1999. Since being incarcerated, he has suffered indignity every day.

If all his assets were confiscated, Tibbetts would have to insist that relatives sell the land he owns jointly with them. He would have nothing when he left prison and would have to live the rest of his days with no prospects, Mr. Dickson said.

Mrs. Justice Ramsay-Hale did not read the entire ruling yesterday. But she indicated that the confiscated sum included salary payments received by Tibbetts from his company, Everest Management.

The heart of the business at Everest Management was said to be the Cash4Titles operation.

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