Salesman fined for possession of counterfeit money
A salesman, found in possession of $3,000 worth of counterfeit bills in his bedroom, has been found guilty and now faces a fine of $6,000.
David Legair, of Paul Over, is charged with having in his possession on September 12, 2016, without lawful authority or excuse, EC$3,000 currency notes which he knew or believed to be counterfeit notes.
The trial for Legair kicked off on November 21, when the court heard what happened on the day Legair was found with the money by the arresting officer, PC 890 Ince.
Ince was part of a squadron of officers who went to the accusedâs house to conduct a raid looking for controlled drugs, armed with a search warrant.
Shortly after noon that day, the unit was at Legairâs house in the process of carrying out the search and, in his bedroom, they found a transparent bag behind a blue and white medicine kit. Upon observation, the officer realized that there were monetary notes in the bag, which he then counted as 30 $100 bills. He noticed that half of the bills had one serial number and half of them, another serial number, which triggered a suspicion that the bills may be counterfeit. Legair then allegedly said, âOfficer me find them outside in the road.â
The money was taken to the Criminal Investigations Department(CID) where it was examined by the Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Ballantyne.
The ASP, dubbed âthe money doctorâ by prosecutor Adolphus Delpesche, also took the stand and confirmed that the money found at Legairâs house is counterfeit money. He noted a variety of characteristics about the notes, including the fact that the serial numbers were the same for half of the notes, which makes the notes counterfeit. He also stated that the money should have a portrait of the Queen looking at the individual from the left hand side of the note, but she was not. âSheâs not watching me at all,â he told the prosecutor.
Based on the examination by the ASP, the accused was subsequently charged for his possession of counterfeit money.
Defence lawyer for the accused Israel Bruce questioned PC Ince after his statement asking whether Legair had indicated to him at any point that he believed that the notes were counterfeit. Ince indicated that that Legair had not done so and that he had charged him based on the law.
The police officer stated that the money was found well secured behind the medicine kit, to which Bruce responded, âWell secured; Lord have mercy.â
When the prosecutor questioned Legair last Tuesday in court, the accused man stated that he found the money in a shortcut at Green Hill that most people use coming from Redemption Sharpes.
Delpesche then stated âLet me tell you up front I donât believe you found that money, but let me test that.â
The accused then said he took the money he found to work, but did not show it to anyone. The prosecutor asked him what he did for a living and how long he had been doing it for, to which he responded that he had been in sales for 10 years.
Delpesche then asked Legair if he knew money, to which he responded that he did, but he said he did not know that notes usually have serial numbers.
âWhy didnât you take it (the money) to the Central Police Station and say âOh money, Oh moneyâ,â the prosecutor asked, to which Legair responded that he didnât think of that.
He said instead that he was keeping the money to see whether anyone would claim it and if not he would have spent it.
âOne cannot go into someoneâs head and know what is in there,â said Delpesche, adding that Legair knew the notes were counterfeit must be drawn from the surrounding facts. Legair, he said, âknows money, but he would have the court believe that he did not know that money has a serial number. An experienced man, loads of work experience, sales man for 10 years,â declared Delpesche.
Bruce, in his ending submission, said that Legair, âon the very first day, gave an explanation as to how he came about the notes in question. That has not changed.â
He said that yes, he has worked as a labourer, technician and in sales, but that instead he should be seen as âa person who used his sweat and tears to make a living,â as opposed to illegality. He also said that many people know that money has numbers on it, but not that these numbers are serial numbers.
The Chief Magistrate, after hearing these submissions and in order to consider all the submissions made, deferred sentencing to yesterday, when she found Legair guilty.
Neither the prosecutor or the defence were opposed to a fine being imposed, Bruce saying that the state would do well to âthrow good money after bad.â
Not forgetting that the offence was a serious one and one that âcould undermine our financial system,â Browne-Matthias imposed a hefty fine of $6,000; $3,000 to paid forthwith, or in default Legair will spend nine months in prison.(KR)