Second suspect charged in CarePay case

An employee of a local financial services company who worked for the firm’s managing director has been charged in connection with an ongoing police investigation into alleged fraud and money laundering.  

Miriam Rebecca Rodriguez, 53, appeared in Summary Court on Tuesday, facing one fraud-related charge under section 11 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law and two charges of money laundering. The charges were filed Monday.  

The money laundering allegations relate to separate amounts, totaling US$30,000 and US$25,000, that Mrs. Rodriguez is accused of handling on behalf of her boss, former Admiral Administration managing director and former Cayman Islands Health Services Authority board chairman Canover Watson.  

The details of the charges are that between Oct. 1, 2010 and July 4, 2012, Mrs. Rodriguez offered and/or gave “assistance to a public officer, namely Mr. Canover Watson, in the awarding of a contract to Advanced Integrated Systems (Cayman) Ltd.”  

According to court records: “Evidence suggests that Mr. Canover Watson had a beneficial interest in the company Advanced Integrated Systems {Cayman} Ltd. which he failed to disclose and obtained substantial financial benefit as a consequence of the company being awarded [two] contracts.”  

One of the contracts was for a public hospital patient swipe-card payment system known as CarePay, awarded in December 2010, and another was for a computerized pharmaceutical information management system, awarded in October 2011.  

It is alleged in court records that Mrs. Rodriguez “facilitated the incorporation of AIS (Cayman) Ltd. with the General Registry of the Cayman Islands and covered up the fact that Mr. Watson was involved with the company.”  

The money laundering charges allege that in June and July 2012, Mrs. Rodriguez possessed “criminal property” that represented, either directly or indirectly, the benefits of criminal conduct totaling US$55,000.  

The allegation is that Mrs. Rodriguez, while working at Admiral Administration, received cash in envelopes from “persons involved in AIS” and “forwarded it on to a third party without disclosing the same.”  

The third party referred to, but not named, in the court records was not connected with Admiral Administration.  

All the charges against Mrs. Rodriguez will be transmitted to the Cayman Islands Grand Court, where she is due to appear again on Feb. 13. Attempts Tuesday to solicit comment from Mrs. Rodriguez about the charges against her were unsuccessful. She was represented in court by attorney Laurence Aiolfi.  

Mr. Watson, the former recipient of the Young Caymanian Leadership Award, is set to appear in court Friday, seeking to have all charges against him dismissed.  

He faces 10 charges, including six for alleged money laundering. 

The money laundering charges, relating to a total of US$169,000 and covering the period from Dec. 30, 2010 to June 2012, are brought under the Proceeds of Crime Law. He is also charged with failing to disclose a pecuniary interest, breach of trust, fraud on the government, and conflict of interest.  

The charges relate to a period when Watson served as chairman of the Health Services Authority, during which he approved and signed the contract for a patient swipe-card system for Cayman Islands’ public healthcare system.  

For some months, the Anti-Corruption Commission has been looking into certain aspects of the award and implementation of the 2010 contract the public hospital system signed with the local arm of a Caribbean company for the CarePay card system. 

Watson denied allegations of corruption against him in a short statement issued a day after his Aug. 28, 2014 arrest. 

He has since resigned from his position at Admiral Administration and was suspended from FIFA’s regional audit and compliance committee as a result of the criminal probe.