Multiple discrepancies between stubs, cheque duplicates in Star Garage fraud case
In the credit card fraud/theft trial of former employee of Star Garage, Eunice Dowers, the defence has pointed out multiple examples of discrepancies between stubs and duplicates in cheque books belonging to company.
On January 14, defence lawyer Grant Connell, during his cross examination of general manager of Star Garage, Joshua DaSilva, focused on two First Caribbean International Bank(FCIB) cheque books which the establishment used in 2018.
Joshua DaSilva is also a nephew of the complainant in this case, managing director of the Garage, Bertille ‘Silky’ DaSilva, who was the first to take the stand to give his evidence towards proving the 55 charges against his former employee.
The charges allege Dowers, 24 years at the time, illegally used her then 87-year-old boss’ credit card and cheques and that she converted criminal property. Her alleged crimes are said to have guzzled over $100,000 of the Garage’s/Silky’s money between August 1, 2018 and January 31, 2019.
So far the defence has raised submissions that ‘Silky’ and his former employee were involved in an intimate relationship so that she was able to use his credit card.
This has been denied by Bertille DaSilva.
While this may be one of their submissions in relation to the use of the credit card, the defence still had to focus on the evidence by the crown in relation to the cheques.
The prosecution, led by crown counsel Rose Ann Richardson, is trying to show that Dowers, who worked as a customs broker for the company after being promoted from secretary, used the cheques to clear both her personal items and items for Star Garage at the same time.
They claim that Dowers took the cheque book to the managing director and he would sign a cheque made out to the accountant general and date it. However, the figure would sometimes be left blank because the exact sum to clear the items would not be known.
There was also a case where the cheque book showed that a figure had been crossed out.
‘Silky’ also testified that he never authorized the payments to Swiftpac Express, or TransOcean that he was seeing on two of the cheque duplicates/stubs.
However, on January 14, Connell also did some highlighting of cheques himself.
First he asked Joshua, “You will agree that the chequebook has a duplicate, and it does not need a carbon paper to fit in between first? The only way you can prevent what was written on the cheque to prevent from going on the yellow carbon paper is if you place the piece of cardboard at the back, in between the two leaves?”
The general manager asked the lawyer to demonstrate what he was talking about to him. After this was done, he said that he wasn’t “fully aware of it, but how you demonstrated to me, that could happen.”
“And the other way is that you tear out the cheque from the cheque book and not write anything then nothing will be on the blank on the duplicate?” Connell stated. Joshua agreed.
Connell told him that there were some blank cheques in the book, and asked if he was aware of this.
The witness responded that he wasn’t and that they don’t issue blank cheques.
In proving the defence’s point, the court’s attention was turned to numbered cheque 21783.
The general manager was asked to confirm that was nothing written on either the duplicate or the stub/counterfoil but that there was an absence of an original cheque.
When asked who this cheque was issued to, Joshua stated “There’s no recipient of the cheque.”
When asked if Star Garage audited for 2018 as yet, the manager noted that he did not know and would have to ask accounts. However, he replied to the lawyers question on whether there was any mark of the auditor on the books, that there was none as yet.
Connell also drew Joshua’s attention to a cheque numbered 21779 which seemed to be made out to the accountant general. However, for this cheque the witness was asked to read the stub.
“Payment for Bertille DaSilva, payment for brother at airport,” the general manager read out, adding “Payment for brother, I don’t understand…at airport?”
“That’s the point. Why doesn’t it say what the duplicate says? Payment to accountant general,” Connell noted.
Additionally, there was also a cheque 21802, which has a mark that signified that Joshua identified it. The stub for this cheque read that it was made out to the accountant general in the sum of $389.
This was the same number written in figures on the duplicate.
However, the lawyer asked Joshua “How you write out that in words?” on the duplicate.
He read that this figure had been written out as “one thousand, two hundred and sixty five dollars”.
Cheque 21841 was also identified by the general manager, who said he “remembered it well.”
It was written to the accountant general for $3227.77, but in the stub it said parcels at the Argyle International Airport(AIA) and the figure was $112.95.
“So Mr DaSilva at this point it would be fair to conclude that once Star Garage, whoever writes in the stub, there are several examples of it being at variance with that which is on the cheque?”
“Yes you could say that…that’s what’s happening here,” the witness responded.