Forgery nets man 2 in jail

A Jamaican national in Cayman on a work permit has been sentenced to two years imprisonment after admitting he made counterfeit money on a laptop computer.

Ranston Everald Spence, 29, was sentenced by Mrs. Justice Priya Levers, who wondered why he had committed the offence. She said he had had a good job with people who trusted him. Now, in addition to imprisonment, he would be recommended for deportation after serving his sentence.

Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey said Spence had held a good job for 10 years. Not getting his work permit renewed would be a devastating blow.

He said the offence was committed on a whim, but the judge commented on the planning that would have been involved.

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn told the court that the offences came to light in September 2005 when a man went to a store and paid for items with cash, which the staff later realised included three false $1 notes.

In another development, someone found a wallet that had been left at another business. The wallet contained false currency notes and identification leading to Spence.

His house was searched and officers found a laptop computer, a printer and forgeries of notes already printed. Some notes were cut and there was one sheet of four $25 bills. Total face value of the notes recovered was $476.

Spence admitted that he had scanned real notes into the laptop and was printing them. He also admitted using some of the notes, but told police that the man who had presented the three false $1 notes was not aware they were forgeries.

Mrs. Gunn said some notes were still in circulation; the quantity was not known.

She said a person guilty of forging currency notes is liable to a sentence of life imprisonment.

In passing sentence, the judge said there was little to be said in Spence’s favour apart from his previous good character and guilty pleas.

Cayman cannot afford to have this sort of offence when so many tourists come and go, she said. ‘We have to give them assurances that our money is good and they are safe in these islands and this sort of offence will not be committed,’ she said.

The judge also ordered forfeiture of the laptop and printer.

In addition to pleading guilty to forgery of currency notes, Spence also admitted uttering six CI$1 bills that were false documents, and possession of the forged currency found at his apartment. No separate penalty was imposed.

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