Defendant given until end of 2015 to pay compensation
A woman who pleaded guilty in 2008 to theft from her employer will have until 31 December, 2015, to pay the balance on the $64,929.64 she admitted stealing as an accounts services representative with a local bank.
Justice Algernon Smith sentenced Betty Pollard to two years imprisonment and gave her two years to make compensation or serve another six months in default.
In January this year, attorney Nicholas Dixey came to Grand Court with Pollard, seeking time to arrange payment. He said she was applying to the Pensions Board to have her pension benefits used for the compensation order. Adjournments were granted for the application to be made and responded to.
In June, Mr. Dixey told the court in Grand Cayman that the Pensions Board was awaiting advice from the Legal Department as to whether the funds could be released. Asked if the funds were sufficient to pay the debt, he said no. It would be a lump sum of $25,000 and then a request to make monthly payments. The court granted a further adjournment.
The matter seemed to be concluded on Friday, 3 August, when Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees advised the court that Superintendent of Pensions Amy Wolliston was not consenting to that money being released.
Ms Lees noted that various judges had been willing to give the adjournments because it was in everyone’s interest to see if the money could be repaid. “It seems clear we have now reached the end of that road and custody does seem inevitable,” she said.
However, on Friday, 10 August, Mr. Dixey told Justice Richard Williams, “I am delighted to report today a lump sum of $25,000 has been paid this week.” In addition, he said, more than $8,000 was offset against the money owed because Pollard had maintained an account at the bank and the bank had retained it.
The Crown was now prepared to accept $800 per month, he reported, with payment due the last working day of each calendar month.
Justice Williams told Pollard that if she failed to pay any month, it would be open to the Crown to take action against her. Further, if the balance of $30,929 is not paid by the end of 2015, it will be open to the court to sentence her to a default term.
Mr. Dixey did not indicate the source of the $25,000.
There is precedent for pension money being used to pay compensation in an employee theft case. However, that 2008 case involved a woman on a work permit who would have to leave the jurisdiction after serving her prison sentence. After Justice Charles Quin ordered compensation, defence attorney John Furniss said his client’s only asset in this jurisdiction was her pension. There was then discussion as to how the pension money could be put in court funds to be given to the guilty woman’s employer.
Pension Board personnel had expressed concern that she would want her money after she left Cayman. Mr. Furniss’ solution was to word an affidavit that the woman signed transferring to the Cayman Islands government all benefits due to her from the pension fund. She accepted that she could not claim her pension at any time in the future.