Woman Arrested in $2 Million Prison Canteen Fraud Probe
Jamaica – A 29-year-old woman is expected to appear in court this week after she allegedly admitted to a role in the disappearance of over $2 million from the canteens of the prisons.
The suspect, of Pinto Road, Arima, was arrested on Thursday and expected to be charged with larceny of the missing money.
The woman was detained as police investigated allegations that money had been unaccounted for in the various canteen systems at three prisons.
Police said audits are still ongoing into exactly how much money is missing, initial estimates placed the combined total of “discrepancies” at over $2 million.
Investigators said at least $60,000 in canteen funds could not be accounted for at the Golden Grove Prison.
Outgoing Prisons Commissioner Sterling Stewart had previously confirmed that money was missing, and said he called in the police after the discrepancies were reported to him.
The canteen funds are used to secure items for the kitchens to provide food and drinks for both prisoners and prison officers, as well as fund many prison events such as the Annual Children Christmas Party, Annual Sport and Family day, and even Boat Rides events, all with the aim of generating revenue.
In this latest instance, however, a sum of money was observed missing by a senior superintendent of the prisons, at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.
As a result, he notified officers of the Arouca Police Station.
A police team led by ASP Edwards, and including Insp Joseph, PC Defoor and WPC Waldropt responded and conducted intensive inquiries into the report, which led them to the woman.
Police said the suspect was held with an estimated $3,700, bringing the total money recovered up to $6,258.
The suspect allegedly confessed to her role in the disappearance of the funds, and is said to be aiding investigators.
It is believed that she may have played a similar role in previous reports of missing money and discrepancies in payments in the canteen.
Police said more arrests could be expected soon.