Witness: Accused gangsters were top sales agents of pawnshop

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 11, 2019

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THE Uchence Wilson Gang trial yesterday heard that the two former employees of the Corporate Area pawnshop who had allegedly done transactions with members of the gang using stolen goods were two of the company's top sales agents.

The two accused – Ricardo Serju and Jermaine Stewart – who have been in custody since December 2017, are charged with knowingly providing a benefit to a criminal organisation and facilitating serious offences by a criminal organisation.

The two are being tried in the Home Circuit Court along with the reputed gang leader Uchence Wilson and 21 alleged gang members, including a police corporal, on various charges under the Criminal Justice Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act (Anti-Gang Legislation) and the Firearms Act.

However, yesterday during the trial, an executive from the pawnshop, while being questioned by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes as to whether or not she had known the two ex-employees, told the court that she knew and had interacted with both men whom she said spent several years at the company and had helped to train her when she arrived there in February 2016.

“Both of them were top sales loans agents,” she said, adding that Serju would sometimes manage the Montego Bay and May Pen branches when the managers were absent.

The pawnshop executive further explained that the two men were also senior sales loan agents prior to their arrest and that they usually met their monthly sales target and budgets.

In further testimony, the pawnshop executive told the court that she gave a statement to the police on January 2, 2018, after the police had visited the facility in Kingston and had given her and other colleagues some names to check for in their system.

Following checks, she said, she had found a number of contracts which indicated a number of transactions that the persons in question had done with the company, as well as their personal information and their contracts, which were printed and handed over to the police.

The court also heard that her checks had revealed that Wilson had done one transaction; his girlfriend, Shantol Gordon, 17; the alleged deputy leader, Fitzroy Scott, two; Machel Goulbourne, three; Michael Lamonth, one; and one for Tashina Baker.

The executive also testified that she had found 17 contracts which were signed by a former member of the so-called gang, who was the first witness in the case. He had testified that one of his main roles in the gang was to pawn and sell stolen items from different robberies and that he would bring the items to the pawnshop in Kingston and would do business with Serju and Stewart, who knew that the items were stolen.

The pawnshop executive further testified that there were five contracts which were allegedly signed by Gordon. The contracts, which were tendered into evidence, showed that on one occasion Gordon had pawned five items and collected $1,420,000. The items pawned were a gold chain, bracelet, earrings, and two pendants.

The court also heard that Gordon had signed other contracts which included transactions done in the sum of $14,400, $25,000 and $10,000, respectively, and which included the pawning of items such as surveillance systems, cellphones and jewellery.

According to the pawnshop executive, the principal sum for the items pawned were arrived at by the company based on a percentage of the actual cost of the item.

The pawnshop executive will continue to give more evidence today.


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