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Melanie Tapper to be sentenced today

Thursday, May 29, 2003    

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FORMER bank managers Melanie Tapper and Winston McKenzie will today be sentenced after the court found them guilty, Monday, of obtaining money by false pretense and conspiring to defraud businessman Bentley Rose of more than 4 million.

The fraud occurred in 1995.

The ruling was handed down shortly after president of the senate, Syringa Marshall-Burnett appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court to offer character evidence on behalf of Tapper. Marshall-Burnett told the court that she had known Tapper for more than two decades.

"I have known her for 25 years and she has been a good wife and mother," Marshall-Burnett said.

Last week, four character witnesses -- Lascelles Lewis, retired civil servant and industrial relations consultant; Henry Hall and Lucille Abott, retired bankers, and Glen Broomfield, a businessman who gave character evidence -- testified.

All were full of praise for both former bankers, telling the court that they were "shocked" when the arrests were made. The arrests, the witnesses added, did not negatively affect their support for the two.

McKenzie, arrested and charged with eight counts of fraud and conspiracy, made restitution amounting to $1.7 million to Rose, while the court found his wife Elaine, who was also charged on two counts of fraud, not guilty. Tapper meanwhile was [DEMO]d jointly with McKenzie on three counts of fraud.

Attorneys Lloyd McFarlane and Walter Scott represented Tapper and McKenzie respectively.

Resident Magistrate Jennifer Straw is presiding over the matter that has been before the court for more than seven years.

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