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Miller to spend three years for fraud

Miller to spend three years for fraud

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“What you have done is despicable in any light. You didn’t give me any reason to be lenient…”{{more}}

That was just part of the tongue lashing that Chief Magistrate Sonya Young gave Sylvorn Francilia Baptiste Miller after she pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and bribery on Tuesday, March 13, at the Serious Offences Court.

She, was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment on Thursday, March 15.

Baptiste-Miller was charged with intent to defraud Shanka Keir, an immigration officer, having falsely represented herself as Udine Hanson of Clare Valley.

She is also charged with giving Shanka Keir, an application form for a St. Vincent and the Grenadines passport in the name of Udine Hanson of Clare Valley on July 27, 2011.

Baptiste-Miller was additionally charged that on August 5, 2011, she attempted to procure from Abigail Cato, a person employed in the public service, one SVG passport in the name of Udine Hanson by offering her $1,000.

On the bribery charge, Baptiste-Miller was sentenced to two years in jail. On the false representation charge, she was slapped with a six month custodial sentence and one year for the presentation of the documents.

The sentences will run concurrently.

“When you were considering committing these crimes, you did not consider your kids. I hope that when you sit in the prison for two years, I want you to think about what you’ve done and how you have ruined your kids’ lives…,” Young said.

The Chief Magistrate also commended Immigration officer Abigail Cato for doing the correct thing in reporting the matter.

Baptiste-Miller’s lawyer, Grant Connell, in mitigation, said that his client did not waste the court’s time and that it was a ‘stupid’ act on her part, without good cause.

Connell said: “Had the application process for the passport been completed in the manner it should have been, and the identification verified by those who the system trusts to fulfil their obligations to the state, we would not have been in court today, since the process would have been halted at that point,” Connell pointed out.

Connell said the person certifying the photograph should have ensured that the photograph was in fact that of the person was applying for the passport.

In relation to sentence, Connell told SEARCHLIGHT that his client is fortunate to have received the sentence passed down by the Chief Magistrate.

“She is fortunate, since the existing legislation as regards punishment for those crimes such as making fraudulent applications is not really a deterrent…. A magistrate can sentence up to three years for fraud. Maybe the powers that be should address this as a further safeguard to protecting the image of our passports…,” Connell added.(KW)

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