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Bail denied again for $50m fraud accused
An allegation of witness tampering has put the possibility of bail for a man accused of trying to steal $50 million in jeopardy. The allegation of threats against witnesses in the case was first raised when Darren Singh, of Claxton Bay, appeared in the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court on Monday on a charge for being involved in the fraudulent transfer of the money from his employer’s Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) account. Singh was the manager of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) Employees’ Credit Union.
Police prosecutor Sgt Callistus Charles was expected to give details on the police’s investigation into the allegations when Singh re-appeared yesterday. However, when the case was called Charles said he was yet to receive an update from Fraud Squad detectives. In response, Singh’s lawyer Candace Lopez repeated her previous statement that there was no evidence before the court to substantiate the witness-tampering claims.
Presiding Magistrate Christine Charles (no relation to the prosecutor) made note of the defence’s submission and the fact that Singh had no prior convictions or pending charges, she still ruled that she would not consider bail for him until she received clarification on the alleged threats. Charles adjourned the case to today to allow police more time to supply the information on the investigation.
Singh is also being represented by Martin George.
Singh, a father of five, is accused of using a fraudulent document to transfer the substantial sum from the organisation’s UTC account to another account at Republic Bank’s branch, Tropical Plaza, Point Lisas. The charge does not indicate whether Singh was able to withdraw the money after the transfer or if the money had been recouped by the credit union. The transfer allegedly took place on January 18, 2013. The Fraud Squad was only able to intervene when the discrepancy was discovered and reported.
In a press release on Tuesday, the UTC said that its employees were responsible for detecting the crime. “There was no loss of funds to the institution and the monies were fully recovered. Immediately following the detection of the fraudulent activity, we informed the financial institutions involved and law enforcement officials were notified,” the release said.
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