Criminal charges in Nation Building Fund probe

Catron: Nine counts of passing forged documents

A woman was charged Tuesday in connection with what is believed to be the first criminal case stemming from the government’s Nation Building Fund payments during the previous administration.  

Sandra Catron, 40, confirmed that she was charged with nine counts of “uttering a false document,” essentially passing a fake record on to someone else, in connection with the investigation and that she was due to appear in court next week.  

Ms. Catron was arrested on suspicion of the alleged offense in December 2013. She denounced the investigation at the time, and again on Tuesday, as a political and personal witch-hunt by authorities.  

“Their sole objective is to make sure I get convicted of something,” said Ms. Catron, who has landed in court several times in the past five years, facing the crown in either criminal or civil matters.  

“This is a vendetta,” she said. 

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service issued the following statement late Tuesday: “An officer of the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit formally charged a 40-year-old female with nine counts of uttering false documents. The lady was initially arrested on Dec. 12, 2013 around 6 a.m. on suspicion of uttering a false document following a police operation in Rackley Boulevard, Newlands. She has been bailed to appear before the Summary Court June 3 at 10 a.m.”  

The Cayman Compass previously reported on the police investigation into Ms. Catron’s alleged involvement in receiving payments from the Nation Building Fund, which has been the subject of an auditor general’s office audit, as well as other undisclosed police investigations since last year. 

Police confirmed in September 2013 that officers were conducting a criminal investigation into more than $50,000 received by a Cayman Islands resident from the former United Democratic Party government’s Nation Building Fund.  

Those payments, for an online paralegal instruction course, were made to a company named Micro Matrix, owned and operated by Ms. Catron. A police statement issued earlier on the matter said, “We can confirm that a complaint was received from the Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs on Sept. 4, 2013. The complaint centers on the misuse of monies allocated by the Nation Building Fund to an individual for the training of staff.”  

Ms. Catron at that time confirmed that she had received phone calls from former students in her paralegal training course informing her that police had contacted them about the class. Ms. Catron said she understood that the uttering a false document allegation related to certificates for the paralegal course that were printed, but not provided to students who didn’t complete the online course.  

Ms. Catron also indicated there had been an allegation of “obtaining property by deception,” but that was not specified in the police news release. She was not charged with any such crime on Tuesday. Ms. Catron sent an email to Police Commissioner David Baines in September indicating that she believed someone was seeking to mar her business name in the community for “political reasons.”  

“What beg[a]n as a good faith effort with our service and the premier’s Nation Building Fund has now turned into the usual political foolishness and RCIPS vindictiveness,” Ms. Catron wrote. There is no record of any response to the email from Mr. Baines or anyone in the RCIPS.  

Ms. Catron filed a lawsuit against the government in September, claiming she was owed $13,400 from a paralegal instruction course that she taught under the auspices of the Nation Building Fund. A previous amount for paralegal training courses, totaling $50,250, was paid in two installments, according to the lawsuit.  

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Ms Catron
Photo: Dennie Warren Jr.
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