Dispute with other guests leads to unauthorised charges
A 26-year-old American man visiting
the Cayman Islands on vacation was sentenced to eight days in prison, fines and
ordered to be deported after pleading guilty to obtaining property by deception
from the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman hotel.
According to Crown Prosecutor
Alister Cumming, Jeffrey Collins O’Neill arrived on Grand Cayman on 30 June and
was staying at the Seven Mile Beach resort. He said an apparent disagreement
between him and guests in the rooms on either side of his culminated in more
than $2,000 in unauthorised charges to the other guests’ rooms.
These included $596.70 in food and
drink, $537.50 in clothing and $1,165 in spa products, for a total of
Of the six unauthorised charges the
Crown’s prosecutor said were made by O’Neil, five were to one room and one was
made to the other.
The situation came to light when
one of the guests staying in the other rooms noticed charges that had not been
authorised. Loss-prevention officials were subsequently contacted. They
approached O’Neill when he was attempting to leave the hotel, and he
immediately admitted to making the charges.
He said he was sorry and that he
had made a huge mistake, which he could pay for. O’Neill also told police
during an interview that he was guilty of the offences.
Defence Attorney John Furnis said
his client had spent eight days in jail, four in Central George Town and Four
up at Northward, after being remanded in custody by Chief Magistrate Margaret
Ramsay Hale, who indicated she wanted to know if the some of the items charged
could be returned.
He said though the food and drink
had been consumed, he was able to verify that the other items were able to be
Mr. Furnis asked the Court to
consider that his client had already spent time in custody and he was asking
for time served, especially since the Crown had asked for deportation.
In sentencing O’Neill, Magistrate
Nova Hall said in addition to the eight-day sentence, which she counted as time
served, the defendant would be ordered to compensate the Ritz-Carlton $596.70
or spend two months in prison, as well as pay prosecution costs of $500.
O’Neill made the reimbursement and avoided the two-month sentence.