JEAN-ANN Panton, the former employee of Stocks and Securities Limites (SSL) who was arrested and slapped with multiple fraud charges on Friday in relation to the theft of billions of dollars from the investment accounts of more than 30 clients, will spend the next week in jail after her attorney failed to appease a Supreme Court judge during a bail application.

Panton, who is accused of fleecing more than $3 billion, was charged with larceny as a servant, forgery, uttering forged documents, and breaching the Proceeds of Crime Act (Section 4).

During a Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) press conference on Friday morning, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Anthony McLaughlin, who heads the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), pointed out that investigations showed Panton had intent to commit fraud and said she engaged in transactions involving criminal property.

When Panton made her first appearance in the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston on Friday at 10:00 am, her attorney-at-law, Tamika Harris made an application for bail on medical grounds.

However, the judge was not satisfied with the application, pointing out that what was presented was lacking.

Panton was remanded until February 24 when Harris is expected to make another bail application.

Prior to her arrest and charge, detectives of the Financial Investigations Division (FID) and the JCF’s Fraud Squad conducted a series of interviews with Panton between February 14 and 16.

On January 20, in the presence of Panton and her attorney, two premises in the Corporate Area that are connected to the accused were searched. Documents and electronic devices, were seized during these operations.

Selvin Hay, the chief technical director of the FID, said in a statement on Friday that, “As the investigation progresses we wish to assure the public that the work into unravelling this fraud is thorough and includes collaboration with local and international agencies. Various lines of inquiry are being pursued with a view to identifying all connected parties and bringing them to justice. As the investigation continues we will seek to lay additional charges, not only against Panton but against other perpetrators.”.

Hay added that investigators have the benefit of early collaboration with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in developing evidence.

“We’ve had to be deliberate and meticulous in the process of verifying and authenticating the information and intelligence received so far. When the matter is presented in the courts, our submissions must demonstrate clear, irrefutable evidence against all who stand accused,” Hay said.

At the same time the FID has not yet been able to quantify the full amount which was defrauded from all affected accounts.

Sprint legend Usain Bolt was defrauded of more than US$12 million in SSL.

The FID, meanwhile, has sought to exonerate Norman Peart, a former manager of Bolt, from any wrongdoing in the matter. FID stated that Peart was not considered a suspect and was not treated as such.

BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter

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