Theft from Chamber pension fund alleged

Former manager remanded in custody

Robert William Schultz appeared in Summary Court on Thursday charged with theft from the Chamber of Commerce Pension Plan.

He is accused of stealing CI$294,570.30 from the pension plan between 25 February, 2008, and 26 September, 2011.

A story in the Caymanian Compass of 15 June, 2011, referred to Robert Schultz as the Chamber Pension Plan customer relationship manager.

Schultz, 39, was wearing shorts and a T-shirt when he was brought before Magistrate Valdis Foldats. Defence Attorney Lloyd Samson indicated he would not make a bail application that day, but was content for the matter to be brought back on Tuesday, 3 April.

Mr. Samson asked that his client be remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison at Northward. He said Schultz had a medical condition that should be noted. The magistrate in turn asked the prison guards to follow up.

He remanded the defendant in custody until the mention date.

Crown Counsel Michael Snape attended on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, but had no comment.

Chamber fund

The Chamber pension plan trustees issued a statement Saturday about the ongoing investigation in response to questions from the Caymanian Compass. The statement was not given in conjunction with any matter before the court.

The Chamber trustees stated that they had discovered “unauthorised transfers” from the fund in late 2011 and notified the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit about the matter. Trustees noted that “a former employee of the plan was confronted” about the matter.

“The trustees consider this to be a very serious matter and we have consulted with the auditors and legal counsel of the [pension] plan,” the statement read.

“They have confirmed that the amounts transferred are not material in relation to the total assets of the plan.”

The Chamber pension plan handles tens of millions of dollars in investments each year.

Even so, all efforts were being made to recover the cash taken from the fund, the trustees said.

The statement also noted that the trustees were in the process of changing the plan’s custodian “from whose accounts the unauthorised payments appear to have been transferred”.

“The trustees … are pursuing every available course of action to secure any funds that investigations and the authorities determine to have been taken without authorisation,” the statement added.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Probably the same reason that the mandatory non-payment reporting process never works.

    My former employer got away with failing to pay pension contributions for years, everyone knew it was happening and just ignored it.

  2. Doesn’t anyone in Government ever get timely audits? I get tired of reading that audits are either not done or are not completed because of lack of information, or for many other reasons usually tied to someone not doing their job. Instead the answer seems to be to hire more people. Will this ever end?

  3. This scenario has been repeated so many times over the decades that it beggars belief that it continues to happen. People can only steal if they are allowed to and human beings are not the most trustworthy species on the planet. When handling cash, cheques and any form of payment you need to have at least another pair of eyes watching and preferably more. It is sad but true to say that there are only a few truly honest people in the world today. The fact that the COC allowed this theft to occur is very disturbing especially when the investment performance that they have achieved is so dismal. I personally think that the Pensions Law has been a negative factor in depriving may hard working Caymanians and residents alike of their reasonable expectations of investment performance even assuming that their contributions have ever been paid over to an authorised pension plan and not just pocketed by some unscrupulous employer. In many cases you might have done better by putting your contributions in a jar or under the mattress.

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