A George Town woman who conned a dive instructor out of nearly $2 million by pretending the money was for legitimate fees for his Caymanian status application has been jailed for 10 years.
Judith Douglas, 53, was found guilty of obtaining property by deception on Tuesday after a two-week trial.
Delivering sentence on Wednesday morning, Justice Carlisle Greaves said she was a “full-time fraudster”.
He said she had left her victim, Nathaniel Robb, a “broken man” with just $19.75 in his bank account after a “relentless” five-year con. Robb borrowed from friends and from his dive business and sold a family home in the US to help meet Douglas’s demands for payments.
“He was a diver but he was hardly able to get a breath. He was drowned by her in an ocean of lies,” Justice Greaves said.
“She was a Delilah indeed but he was no Samson. She cut out his hair, picked out his eyes and brought him down to his knees.”
Despite the guilty verdict, Robb will not receive any compensation as Douglas has no recoverable assets in her name, the judge said.
“Up to this day, not a dime of that $1.9 million has been paid back. It is still a mystery as to where that money went and where it is now,” he said.
During the sentencing hearing, Douglas, who has a previous conviction for a similar offence, made a tearful plea for leniency telling the judge, “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in Fairbanks.”
Greaves said his sentence did not condemn her to a life without hope. But he said she deserved the maximum penalty the law would allow.
“Society needs to be protected from you for as long as practical,” he told her.
Justice Greaves said she had shown “absolutely no remorse” and had damaged the integrity of the immigration department by claiming at trial that she was just a go-between passing bribes to an unnamed “Mr. Big”.
He said she had also claimed, “without a scintilla of evidence”, that the defendant himself was “an embezzler” and was scamming his family and business partners.
“Judith, when I call that name I hear a ringing in my ears,” the judge said. “Judith, Judas, who robbed Mr. Robb. What a name.”
During the trial, prosecutors produced hundreds of WhatsApp and text messages between Douglas and Robb, showing her requests for fees, which she claimed were legitimately required as part of his applications for permanent residency, Caymanian status and a Caymanian passport. The messages correlated with cash withdrawals from Robb’s bank account. In total, he handed over more than $1.9 million to Douglas between October 2011 and early 2016.
In the messages, Douglas presented herself as a legitimate operator, working for or acting on behalf of the government, and indicated that much of the money would be returned at the end of the process.
The judge cited Douglas’s previous conviction and said she had continued to call and text Robb while she was in jail for a separate immigration-related scam.
“That demonstrates an absolute disregard for the law and for the administration of justice,” he said.
“It illustrates a person who was willing to play with us – then and now.”
He said the duration of the scam was another aggravating factor. “She milked him, dangling the cheese in front of his nose and cunningly providing him with excuses, causing him to shell out more of his money, time after time.”