Twelve people – six suspended Immigration Department employees and six other Cayman Islands residents – stood in the Summary Court dock Tuesday facing various charges related to a scheme that anti-corruption cops said sought to cheat an English-language proficiency requirement for foreign workers.

“They’ve been charged with very serious offenses … the maximum sentences range from seven years to 10 years in custody [upon conviction],” Crown Counsel Greg Walcolm told the court.

Magistrate Adam Roberts called each of the defendants up to stand in the court dock. After six of the suspects attended, the judge remarked, “We seem to be full, but let’s do what we can.”

Eventually all 12 defendants were before the court, represented by at least eight different attorneys. The charges facing the various defendants are all indictable offenses and were therefore transmitted to Grand Court for pleas and further hearings on April 27. Two of the defendants who were given permission to travel off island for emergency medical procedures indicated they might not be back by that date.

Generally, the suspects were required to produce a surety, or a personal recognizance bond and surrender their passports to the court. Those given permission to travel overseas were required to turn in their travel documents upon returning to Cayman, Magistrate Roberts said.

The alleged scheme has brought a total of 75 criminal charges against the individuals involved, who Anti-Corruption Commission officers said were either receiving rewards for helping individuals pass the Immigration Department’s English-language test or were paying for test answers. The English test is administered to all non-Caymanian workers who hail from countries where English is not the primary language.

“The charges relate to the provision of assistance to pass the English test and, in some cases, arranging the payment of a reward for the provision of such assistance,” the commission noted in a March press statement.

At least three of the defendants who appeared in court Tuesday said they could not understand Magistrate Roberts. A Spanish interpreter had to be brought up from the Traffic Court to assist.

Six serving immigration personnel have been placed on required leave – suspension with pay – following their 2017 arrests in connection with the probe. The charges against the Immigration Department staffers included the following:

Marcus Alexander, 43, is charged with 12 counts of conspiracy to commit fraud against the government, four counts of conspiracy to commit breach of trust, three counts of breach of trust and one count of failing to report the solicitation of an advantage.

Carlos Robinson, 43, is charged with eight counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and one count of failing to report the solicitation of an advantage.

Kathy-Ann Forbes, 44, is charged with five counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and one count of failing to report the solicitation of an advantage.

Diane Dey-Rankin, 57, is charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and one count of failing to report the solicitation of an advantage.

Pheadra McDonald, 43, is charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and one count of failing to report the solicitation of an advantage.

Sherry Lee McLaughlin, 57, faces three counts of conspiracy to commit breach of trust and one count of failing to report the solicitation of an advantage.

The other six defendants, from the Dominican Republic or Honduras, charged in the case also appeared before the court Tuesday:

Katerine Montero Paniagua, 27, faces two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government.

Carolin Nixon-Lopez, 35, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government.

Marlenis Perez Mata, 31, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and three counts of conspiracy to commit a breach of trust.

Angela Suyapa Rodriguez David, 38, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government.

Mariel Maleno Suriel, 33, is charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government.

Santo Castro Castillo, 45, is charged with 11 counts of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and three counts of conspiracy to commit a breach of trust.