KINGSTON, Jamaica – The victim of a $500,000 fraud by one of his employees showed mercy as he appeared before a senior parish judge at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Tuesday, expressing his desire to “give her a chance.”
“She is young, Your Honour, She’s is smart,” the elderly man said of Ruth-Ann Russell, who Is charged with access with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of an offence, conspiracy to defraud, and larceny as a servant.
Russell had been employed by the man's company to manage staff payments and utility bills.
However, on Thursday, June 1, the complainant received calls from his staff claiming they hadn't received their salaries. Investigations revealed that $598,000 was withdrawn from the company's account for salaries and utilities but were reportedly never disbursed.
Attempts were reportedly made to reach Russell on her cellphone, but she did not answer the calls.
In court, when asked about the missing money, Russell confessed to having $100,000 and expressed her willingness to initiate a repayment plan.
Judge Lori-Ann Cole-Montague sternly reprimanded Russell, likening her actions to a breach of trust and abuse of her employer.
“You were placed in a position of trust,” the judge chided. “This is a sort of rape, you know… You abused your employer, you should have been in prison.”
“I don’t want her to go to prison,” the complainant said, adding that he is even willing to have her repay less than what she took.
Russell explained that she took the money because she had received death threats following a car rental incident with friends that resulted in an accident during a trip to a river.
The judge insisted on full repayment, emphasising the responsibility of this generation.
Russell was ordered to reimburse her former employer a minimum of $200,000 by November 1, and a fingerprint order was issued.
In addition, bail conditions included surrendering her travel documents, placing a stop order at all ports, and reporting to the nearest police station on Wednesdays between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm.