ORIGINAL: The former president of the University College of the Cayman Islands Hassan Syed was sentenced to eight years behind bars Friday morning for defrauding the college of more than CI $700,000.
Syed pretended to have a doctorate to gain the president’s job and six-figure annual salary. He then used his college credit card to rack up more than $200,000 in personal expenses, including expensive jewelry, exotic overseas trips and a car for his girlfriend during his time at the helm of the institution between 2006 and 2008.
He was also convicted of forging documents and falsely claiming expenses in connection with work to set up the Civil Service College of the Cayman Islands. He fled the island after his crimes began to be uncovered, but was extradited from Switzerland in 2014.
Passing sentence by video link Friday morning, Justice Philip St John Stevens, said, “The evidence in this case has demonstrated that you are an intelligent, persuasive, manipulative and dishonest individual. Your presidency at UCCI was obtained by dishonesty and was riddled with acts of dishonesty throughout the whole of your tenure.
“You employed a number of deceitful mechanisms to defraud UCCI and the Civil Service College of more than $700,000. Your methods were, in instances, sophisticated, utilizing at times false documents and emails.
“The money or monies-worth that you obtained, you stole, was public money. Money that each and every citizen of the Cayman Islands would expect to be used for the benefit of their islands and its people. In effect it was their money.
“It should have been used to build the education system of the Cayman Islands.”
Syed was convicted of two counts of theft, seven counts of obtaining money transfers by deception, and three counts of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception after a trial earlier this year.
Justice St-John Stevens delivered individual sentences, ranging from one to four years for 11 of those charges, ordering that they run concurrently with the principle sentence of eight years for the charge of theft, which relates to the $200,000 Syed spent on the college credit cards.
He was given no reduction in sentence for the time spent incarcerated awaiting extradition from Switzerland.
The judge did give a 127-day discount in sentence in recognition of the time Syed had spent on bail in the Cayman Islands on an ankle-monitor controlled curfew, awaiting trial.