Trial continued in Grand Court on Friday for Judith Francia Douglas, who has pleaded not guilty to obtaining more than $1.9 million from an American man by falsely representing that the money was required for him to get permanent residence, status and a Caymanian passport.
The prosecution’s case, conducted by Crown counsel Toyin Salako, is that Ms. Douglas obtained various sums of money from the man between November 2010 and January 2016.
Last week the man began his evidence, telling the court that he had been introduced to Ms. Douglas, who told him she was a courier for some officials in government. He said she informed him that she could obtain non-revocable Caymanian status for him for $8,000 and, at the end of the process, the majority of the money would be returned to him.
She provided him with the PR application form and he filled it out, returning it to her with $8,000 in cash. She subsequently advised him of other fees that were required.
He said that she provided him with a receipt dated March 15, 2011, which stated, in part, “Fourteen thousand dollars has been received from you for paperwork as our discussion …. Note there is a $2500CI for Certificate law fees which is not included in dept fees …. ”
Under the note was the name “Mr. Roger” and what looked like a signature.
A receipt given to him in November 2010, for $11,000 listed “Roger Banks” as “receiver.”
Both receipts were on blank paper with no letterhead. The witness said he had never met “Roger Banks.”
He submitted to the court a copy of his “Residency and Employment Right Certificate Issued to a Permanent Resident” dated April 5, 2012. He told Ms. Douglas about it because he thought she was the one who got the process done. He continued to give her money requested because he wanted to make the process move forward. He said he had been keeping records of what he paid her. By March 2012, the total was $141,150. The man said he was not looking at the sum total at that time because he was under the stress of breaking up with a partner and getting a small business going on his own.
He said Ms. Douglas told him he would be getting a refund of $84,000, which was money paid in excess of what was needed for payment to get permanent residence and status.
He understood that it was “an accounting issue.” She had explained that the money was in an account that couldn’t be accessed.
Ms. Salako asked what was the source of funds he was handing over to Ms. Douglas. He said they came from his personal savings, from the business, loans from friends and sums from family members, which were not defined as loans or gifts. Later in his testimony, he said he had sold his home in the United States.
He thought the money he was giving to Ms. Douglas was going to the Cayman Islands Government. He thought the money was being held by the people Ms. Douglas was representing from the Cayman Islands Government.
On Friday, he began giving evidence about numerous series of WhatsApp chats he had with Ms. Douglas between July 10, 2014 and Feb. 26, 2016. Jurors were provided with binders containing 180 pages of what the man said were messages between him and Ms. Douglas. Among other things, the messages referred to amounts of money, plus times and places to meet.
The man was scheduled to continue is evidence on Monday morning.