Bizarre twist to $50-m fraud probe
Corporate Area 'spiritual healer' under scrutiny

Police probing the suspected multi-million-dollar fraud at Sagicor Bank Liguanea have stumbled onto a secret society which has evoked memories of the St James cult led by the now deceased Pastor Kevin Smith.

Jamaica Observer sources say investigators are looking into the connection between the fraud and a St Andrew-based woman who has dubbed herself a 'spiritual leader' as they probe the alleged theft of approximately $50 million from the accounts of some Sagicor Bank customers.

According to the Observer sources, a person believed to be involved in the fraud has claimed that the act was perpetrated to fund activities of the secret society which conducts rituals involving blood and animal sacrifice.

"Information given to investigators is that some of the stolen money was used to fund the activities of the secret society that is led by the woman who conducted the strange rituals," said one Observer source.

Some of the rituals are said to have involved the purchase of animals, including horses, cows, and goats from people in rural parishes. The animals were then slaughtered and members of the secret society ordered to "wash" in the blood of the animals before reporting to their various places of work the following day.

"The so-called spiritual leader reportedly managed to convince at least two people linked to Sagicor into her secret society and gave them directives, including to purchase the figurines of cats in order to preserve the good order of the universe. A lot of powder was also involved in the rituals," the source said.

"It's amazing that we seem to have a repeat of the Kevin Smith saga where a so-called spiritual leader or professed religious healer was able to get Jamaicans who operate in various sections of society, including the public and private sector, to perform strange practices. Some even alienated themselves from their families and gave all their resources to the secret society which is headquartered in upper St Andrew," the source revealed.

The professed spiritual leader has also reportedly recently purchased multi-million-dollar properties in sections of the Corporate Area further raising eyebrows about the funding of her activities which the Observer sources say is financed by members of the secret society who were required to attend weekly private sessions at which a variety of 'deeply religious' practices are carried out.

In October two women who were employed to Sagicor Bank were arrested and charged following a probe into alleged fraudulent transactions at the bank.

The two employees — Tricia Monique Moulton, 42, manager of Sagicor Bank Liguanea, and Malika McLeod, also 42, personal banker at Sagicor Bank Liguanea — were arrested by the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC).

They were released on bail in the sum of $1 million each and are to appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on Friday, December 9.

The women have been charged with conspiracy to defraud, access with intent to commit or facilitate an offence, unlawfully making available device or data for the commission of an offence, computer-related fraud, breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act, and larceny as a servant.

The allegations are that between August 2022 and October 2022, Moulton and McLeod, in their capacities as manager and personal banker, respectively, conspired and defrauded the United States currency accounts of some six Sagicor customers of an undetermined sum.

One of the accounts has been fully verified to have been defrauded of a total of $2.5 million. The fraud was discovered during a routine internal audit, which is still ongoing to establish the final amount stolen, but a police source said the figure could rise to approximately $50 million.

The police have alleged that, between August and October this year, the women created fraudulent accounts in the customers' names then transferred funds from the legitimate accounts to the fake accounts, and subsequently stole the funds.

In a statement following the arrests, Sagicor said its management uncovered the "fraudulent activities" through its internal security systems.

It's understood that the bank accounts of some Jamaicans who are well-known in the Corporate Area were fleeced during the fraud.

Last October news broke about a ritual killing at Smith's Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries in St James which he reportedly ruled with such an iron fist that he would project death upon congregants and their families who refused to pay him money upon demand.

On October 17, 2021, church member Taneka Gardner had her throat slashed, allegedly on Smith's order during a ritual that ended with three people dead.

The events shocked the country and led to Smith being arrested. However, he died in a motor vehicle crash on the Linstead bypass in St Catherine on October 25, while being transported from Montego Bay to Kingston to be charged with two counts of murder, two counts of wounding with intent, and illegal possession of a firearm.

Police Constable Orlando Irons also died in the crash and two of his colleagues were injured.

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