Woman sold car, apartment several times

A woman who took down payments from five people for the same car also took money from seven people for the same apartment.

Janae Jenissa Carnegie, formerly known as Venassa Marshall, was sentenced last week to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay compensation within two years of her release.

Carnegie, 25, entered guilty pleas in November to charges of obtaining property by deception. The property obtained was cash and money transfers. A social inquiry report was requested and Magistrate Nova Hall received it last week.

Although in custody since September, Carnegie never applied for bail. Her attorney, Menelik Miller, said this was because she believed she needed to be punished for her actions.

Crown Counsel Gail Johnson detailed the offences. She said a complaint was made to police in February by a man who said he had signed a contract in November 2005 to buy a particular car. He had made a down payment of $1,300, but he understood since then that other people had an interest in the same car.

Between 26 November and 15 December 2005, the defendant had placed ads in the Caymanian Compass to sell the vehicle. Several people contacted her and she made arrangements for test drives. She received down payments and drew up bills of sale for each one.

Two would-be purchasers had given her $1,000 each; others had given her $1,400 and $1,250.

When police questioned her, she admitted taking down payments without refunding any of the cash. She was given bail.

The Commercial Crime Division subsequently received reports about a lease-to-own apartment in a duplex that had also been advertised in the newspaper.

Seven people signed a contract with the understanding that he or she could occupy the apartment at a later date.

Down payments ranged from $2,000 to $10,000, for a total of CI$19,500 and US$8,500. They were paid between 19 June and 13 September.

When arrested for the car deceptions in April, Carnegie had been given bail with one condition being that she surrender her passport.

In August, she gave false information to a public officer by reporting that her passport had been lost. She requested a certified copy and used it, along with a change of name certificate, birth certificate and marriage certificate, to obtain another passport.

On 18 September, she was arrested as she attempted to leave the jurisdiction with that new passport. She again admitted placing ads and taking down payments.

Mr. Miller told the court that Carnegie had a job. She had a falling out with one of her bosses that made it more difficult for her to maintain employment in the industry she had experience in.

She would get a job, her former boss would speak to her employer and then she would be asked to leave, Mr. Miller said. The result was tremendous financial pressure.

The attorney said Carnegie has a child and a husband who is a disabled war veteran in the US, to whom she had been sending money.

He and the magistrate both referred to the social inquiry report, which was not made public. In passing sentence, the magistrate said she was not unmoved by some of the defendant’s circumstances, particularly in her childhood, that had affected her health.

She said it was unfortunate that Carnegie had pursued the behaviour she did, but she was entitled to credit for her guilty pleas and cooperation.

Carnegie received six months for the offences involving the car and six months for the offences involving the apartment.

She also received three months for giving false information about her passport and attempting to pervert the course of justice, but these sentences will run within the 12 months.

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