Another man arrested after allegedly using Vaz’s name in scam
A man was arrested and charged on Wednesday in relation to a suspected motor vehicle scam in which he allegedly claimed to be an assistant to Transport Minister Daryl Vaz.
Charged with obtaining money by false pretence is a 31-year-old auto mechanic from Draxhall in St Ann. He is being detained as the police investigate the full scope of the alleged fraudulent operation.
Reports are that the suspect, claiming to be Vaz’s assistant and identifying himself as Mr Reynolds, a customs officer, approached a Portland businessman offering the complainant an opportunity to purchase two 2019 Toyota Prado motor vehicles, while asking for a payment of $2.5 million for customs duty and storage fees.
The businessman subsequently contacted Minister Vaz who denied making any proposition.
As a result, the police launched a sting operation which led to the arrest of the mechanic when he reportedly attempted to collect the money.
The transport minister, after learning of the latest suspected scam using his name, stated that five other people contacted him with similar reports of being contacted by suspected fraudsters using his name.
“Based on the arrest of an individual last year … I thought that this matter was put to bed… (I am) now realising that the mastermind is still at large. This is a very serious matter which will require the attention of all of the authorities to get to the mastermind and I am prepared to do anything in my power including putting up a reward for the capture of this mastermind,” Vaz said, though he did not state the amount for the reward.
“They have fleeced millions of dollars over the last two years using my good name and this must stop. I am prepared to do anything and to call on all the authorities, local and international, to have this matter brought to a closure. This is an absolute disgrace where people are losing millions of dollars as a result of my good name,” the minister added.
In October 2022, a man named Shawn Latham was charged with obtaining money by false pretence and fraudulent conversion by using Vaz’s name to con people out of more than $4 million. He pleaded guilty to the charges in the St Andrew Parish Court, and was instructed to make full restitution before his sentencing the following month.