Marcia Angella Hamilton, 46, was found guilty on Tuesday of six counts of obtaining property by deception. The property was cash. The deception was a false representation to the payer that permanent residence would be granted.
Hamilton had pleaded not guilty to eight counts and she elected trial by judge alone. Justice Charles Quin heard evidence over 13 days in October and November.
In presenting his judgment on Tuesday, he referred to two other women and said he found that the three had acted together in a joint enterprise.
When the matter first came to court in 2012, Hamilton stood in the dock with Judith Francia Douglas. A third woman, Kathleen Rosetta Davis, was listed as a defendant but she did not attend.
When the case moved to Grand Court, the Crown counsel advised that Davis, 70, “chose to no longer remain in the Cayman Islands.”
Douglas pleaded guilty to nine charges earlier this year. She had been on bail pending the outcome of Hamilton’s trial.
After Justice Quin’s decision, both women were allowed to have their bail continued until Feb. 25. The adjournment is to give time for the preparation of social inquiry reports before sentences are passed.
In the trial, various witnesses were called by Crown counsel Toyin Salako, who conducted the case for the prosecution. They said they had been told that permanent residence was being made available to longtime residents, but there was a fee of $2,500 “because the Cayman Islands government had a big deficit and needed to collect funds.”
The offenses occurred between September 2009 and April 2010.
Hamilton gave evidence, saying that when she collected money or delivered receipts she was just doing favors. She said she was deceived and innocently dragged into the scam – that if she had known, she would never have applied herself for permanent residence for a close relative.
However, Justice Quin pointed out that Hamilton had asked for her money back in September/October 2009, yet she continued to take money from other people into April 2010.
He analyzed each charge and explained the evidence that convinced him of Hamilton’s guilt. In one instance, for example, she was the only person the victim dealt with.
Exhibits in the case included lists found in Hamilton’s possession. They included names of people and numbers. Some of the names had Douglas’s name after them and some had Hamilton’s name after them. One list of 29 names represented approximately $70,000, the judge noted.
He also pointed out that, in a joint enterprise, each person may play a different part, but if they are acting in agreement they are each guilty.
For two charges, involving payment of $2,500 and $7,650 [this amount for three “applications”], Justice Quin found insufficient evidence and handed down verdicts of not guilty.