7 JDF Coop Credit Union workers held for fraud; more than $4m taken from customers' accounts
arrest, arrests

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Seven employees of the Jamaica Defence Force Cooperative Credit Union Limited, have been charged after more than $4 million was defrauded from the institution.

The revelation came to light on Friday when the four women and three men appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

The accused are Romario Anthony Johnston, member service officer; Hugh Anthony James, teller from Kingston 2; Ravonne Thomas-Matthews, information technology analyst from Kingston 5; Rondre Getfield, administration clerk from Greater Portmore, St Catherine; Allesha Beckford, teller from Waterford, St Catherine; Tabinna Layton, teller, from St Andrew and Teanna Tapper, teller, from St Andrew.

All have been charged with conspiracy to defraud and larceny as a servant. Johnston, James, Thomas- Matthews, Getfield and Beckford are additionally charged with unlawfully making available devices or data for the commission of an offence.

Johnston, James and Layton have also been charged with access with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of an offence. Johnston is also charged with computer related fraud and Tapper is also charged with forgery and uttering a forged document.

The case was heard before Chief Parish Court Judge Chester Crooks. It was postponed for full disclosure to be made to defence attorneys and for the attorneys to have mature discussions with their clients with a view to making restitution.

Fingerprint orders were made for the accused individuals. They are to surrender their travel documents, except for James, who is to return to court on October 7, 2022, to surrender his birth certificate.

Johnston is to report to the Greater Portmore Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He was ordered not to visit the credit union. All the accused individuals' bails were extended, and they are to return to court on November 10, 2022.

The court is alleging that between June 6, 2022, and August 23, 2022, the seven accused conspired to defraud the credit union of $4,440,500.

It is alleged that Johnston changed the emails and passwords of 13 of the credit union’s customers and transferred the funds in instalments to his and several other accounts.

The other accounts included those of Beckford, James, Getfield and Thomas-Matthews. The funds were later withdrawn. Most of the withdrawals were facilitated by Layton, the court alleges. In addition, Tapper is accused of forging a cash voucher and obtaining funds from an account.

The case is being investigated by Detective Sergeant Garfield Livingston of the Fraud Squad, C-TOC.

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