‘Scarface’ fined $150,000 for laundering over $600,000
A money laundering investigation in the works since 2008, which followed over $674,900 worth of suspicious transactions, has ended in one ‘Scarface’ being fined $150,000 this week.
Wilfred Roderick ‘Scarface’ Clouden and his wife, Jenee Govia-Clouden, both received eight money laundering charges last Friday at the Serious Offences Court.
These charges accused them of having in their possession criminal property, ranging from EC$880 to €23,930, on certain dates; money that they knew or suspected to be the proceeds of criminal conduct.
The husband pleaded guilty to the charges but his wife maintained her innocence. Therefore, after the facts were read, Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche chose to withdraw the charges against the wife, leaving ‘Scarface’ to face the gavel alone.
The Financial Intelligence Unit in their investigation noticed transactions the couple was completing on a regular basis, namely, the collection of money through the money remittance agency, Western Union, and foreign exchange being negotiated at the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines (BOSVG).
After gathering specific information, the FIU interviewed the Cloudens. Wilfred admitted that the money he received through Western Union, and exchanged at the bank, was done on behalf of three men.
These men, whom he named, Godfrey ‘Tyler’ Cumberbatch, Wilmore ‘Tally Green’ Goodgie and Kamari ‘Kam’ Neptune are all men who were convicted for possession of drugs. Coincidentally, they are also dead; murdered using guns.
Cumberbatch left this world in June, 2014, Goodgie followed in May of 2016, while Neptune was killed a few months later, in December of 2016.
According to the FIU, Wilfred said these men paid him whenever he received money or negotiated the Euros for them. He also said that he told his wife to collect and negotiate on his behalf at times. He denied knowing that the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct, and said his only concern was whether it was counterfeit.
His wife said that she did not know anything, and only did what her husband told her to do.
The FIU discovered through production orders served on the institutions, that ‘Scarface’, between March 2011, and November 2015, received $140, 955.79 via Western Union from 19 different senders.
These senders came from Dominica, Antigua, the United States of America (USA), the British Virgin Islands(BVI), England and St Lucia.
Between December 2010, and January 2015, he negotiated €77,180, BDS$600, and US$5,785, which translates to EC$283,409.24, at the BOSVG.
His wife, between October 2009, and December 2013, collected EC$74, 914.81 from 15 senders in the BVI, Antigua, Dominica, St Lucia, Canada and England. Between September 2009, and September 2014, she negotiated €49,700, US$388 and £25, or EC$175,697.61, at the BOSVG.
“Godfrey Tyler (one of the deceased men) was a boat captain, who may have reached, save and except the shores of England and USA, he would have reached those shores (the other countries named by the prosecution) with his vessel, delivering local produce, cannabis…marijuana, which morphed itself into cash,” Wilfred’s lawyer, Grant Connell explained.
This money would have “come back down,” the lawyer continued, and he submitted this was the criminal proceeds which his client came into possession of.
He asked the court to take into account the “spirit and intention” of Parliament surrounding cannabis at this time.
“He was merely the collector, he did not gain anything from the activity, save and except on one occasion,” when he was given parts for his van, and another when diesel was bought for him, Connell disclosed.
“He was not aware at the time that he was involved in an illegal act. He carried the monies to the bank sometimes, €500, €4,000, and was asked to fill out a source of funds, and asked, anything wrong here, ‘No’,” the lawyer also stated.
He asked the chief magistrate Rechanne Browne not to treat Wilfred as a hardened criminal, and to give him a suspended prison sentence if she is minded to give him a prison sentence.
He told Browne that Wilfred has no money, and revealed, “You will note in the investigation, nothing was presented to you, of bank accounts in the six figures, not even in the hundreds. He doesn’t have a bank account.”
The prosecutor conversely recommended a jail sentence. “As a people, we have to keep our streams clean. We are poor yes, but, being poor doesn’t mean that we must sell ourselves, and allow ourselves to go dirty in the streets,” he stated. He pointed out that one of the deceased men had been convicted for cocaine possession.
Finally he asked the court to consider that all three persons listed by Wilfred were killed by a guns, “Every single one of them was killed by a bullet. That is something the court ought to take into consideration, I submit,” he stated.
Browne stood the matter down, and called it up again a while later. In mitigation she noted: Wilfred’s relative youth, that he had no previous convictions of a similar nature, among other things.
The Proceeds of Crime Act allows a maximum fine of $500,000 and five years imprisonment for this case.
She chose to impose a fine, but after applying the discount for his guilty plea and other mitigating factors, $500,000 was reduced to $150,000. He was given until December 30, 2019 to pay, failing this he will serve one year in prison. As he walked out of court a free man, his wife momentarily embraced him emotionally.