Trial began in Grand Court on Thursday for a woman accused of obtaining more than $1.9 million by deception in what Crown counsel Toyin Salako called a “scam” involving permanent residence and Caymanian status.
Judith Francia Douglas, 53, is charged with dishonestly obtaining $1,946,437 with the intention of permanently depriving a named person of that amount by falsely representing that the money was required for payment to the Cayman Islands government for a legitimate application for permanent residency, status and a Caymanian passport.
The offense is alleged to have occurred between November 2010 and January 2016.
The Crown’s first witness was the complainant. He said a neighbor had introduced him to Ms. Douglas, who told him she was a courier for some officials in government. His impression was that she was working for them and “could walk everything through the process” of obtaining residence and status. He had been in Cayman since 2001 and had “key employee” status at the time.
He said he completed the forms that Ms. Douglas had given him and he returned them to her. He also gave her documents such as a police clearance, which she requested to aid the application process, he said, and he also gave her $8,000 as an initial payment. Subsequent payments by the man were recorded in an Excel spreadsheet over the course of the five-year scam.
He said he never gave cash to anyone other than Judith Douglas.
He told the court that he had phone conversations “with two gentlemen whom she stated were government officials she was working with.”
The witness was still giving evidence by press time.
The matter is being heard by Justice Timothy Owen with a jury of four women and three men. Ms. Douglas is represented by attorneys Anthony Akiwumi and Lee Halliday-Davis.
In opening the case to the jury, Ms. Salako listed dates and payments in cash the complainant said he had made to Ms. Douglas. The prosecutor cautioned, however, that her speech was not evidence – the evidence would come from the witness.