Woman dodges jail for $20k theft

| 30/07/2015 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands court emblem

(CNS): A woman who stole CI$20,000 from a condo strata was given a 12 month suspended sentence Wednesday, when the judge found exceptional circumstances surrounding the case regarding her violent partner. Samantha Brown (30) admitted stealing the cash from clients of Tessa Hydes Property Management, where she worked, using forged bank drafts. But the court heard that Brown was in an abusive relationship and had been pressured by her partner, Jason Jarvis, described as “feckless” by the judge, to take the money and buy him a motorcycle.

Brown pleaded guilty earlier this year to the crime, which took place over a six month period between November 2013 and April 2014.

The court heard that at the time of the theft she was in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend who is the father of two of her children. As well as being violent, he placed the woman in fear and pressured her to finance his lifestyle.

As a result, Brown made the first theft in November of $12,000 to buy a motorcycle for Jarvis and stole a further $2,000 the next month to cover fees relating to its importation. The following April she made two more forged bankers drafts for another $2,000 and $4,000 for accessories and additional parts her abusive boyfriend was demanding. But soon after that the relationship broke down when he was charged as a result of a serious assault on Brown.

Defence attorney John Furniss argued that this was completely out of character for his client, whom he described as a mild-mannered woman who was controlled and frightened of her abusive partner.

The crime had a serious impact on her former employers, however, which was outlined by crown counsel, Toyin Salako. She said that Tessa Hydes, the owner of the property company, feared that she would lose her business as a result of the level of the dishonesty and the fact that one of the signatures forged was that of a local commercial lawyer.

Hydes feared she would not be able to fund the costs of a legal battle or withstand the reputational damage. A victim impact statement highlighted the significant stress that she had suffered as well as the reputational damage and a loss of business. In the end, however, the bank had absorbed the costs of the fraud to the clients at South Sound Villas, who were the victims.

Despite acknowledging the serious nature of Brown’s offence and the aggravating circumstances of a breach of trust, among other issues, Justice Malcolm Swift pointed to some exceptional circumstances in his ruling.

Reports for the probation service and police verified the abuse she suffered, as well as the controlling nature of her former partner, who had reportedly even admitted that Brown may have stolen the money on his behalf, though he denied telling her to do so.

As a result, having found that a twelve month sentence was appropriate for a first offence with an early guilty plea, he suspended the jail time for two years and made a supervision order.

Justice Swift said he was satisfied that she had stolen the money for the bike to placate her partner, who was “feckless and irresponsible” and who had put pressure on Brown to finance him as well as herself and their children from her salary. He described her offending as an attempt to “keep an abusive relationship afloat”, though he said it was not an excuse for the crime.

Since the relationship broke down, Brown has taken a new job where her employers know about the offence and conviction but she is now the sole provider for the two children.

He said that sending Brown to jail “would achieve nothing”, as he suspended the sentence. But the judge warned Brown that she would go to jail if she committed another offence or disobeyed the conditions of the supervision order.

Justice Swift made no compensation order but he questioned the prosecuting attorney over why the motorbike was still in the hands of Jarvis, as the court had heard that Brown had asked him on a number of occasions for the bike so it could be sold to make some restitution.

Salako said that officers had not seized the motorcycle because the bike had been registered in Jarvis’ name and not Brown’s. However, the judge raised his concern that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate the bike was the proceeds of ill-gotten gains and that the investigators may want to reconsider the issue.

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Comments (52)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Most ridiculous judgement and reasoning. If you think there are no consequences think about these:
    1) the bank reimbursed the funds. Do you think the bank is just going to give away these funds? They are going to get it from you and me via increased fees and charges
    2) do you think the employee that processed the request(s) were not penalized via bad reviews affecting promotions and salary? Maybe they were even fired
    3) all the police and judicial hours spent on this? This could have been spent on other crimes.
    Seems to me the only person who got away without any consequence was the person that committed the crime !!

  2. Anonymous says:

    wasn’t there a case were a man stole electricity the other day for his family and keep his wife happy and ran up a large bill and he was jailed?

  3. Elizabeth Warren'd Us says:

    Name a country where white collar criminals are punished to the same extent as your ordinary street bandit. It just doesn’t work that way, in Cayman or out in the “real world”.

  4. Pit Bull says:

    The rate of theft by local employees is extremely high. Stiff sentences are needed, because this is what leads to local unemployment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I did not realise that a weak character was a mitigating circumstance when sentence for offences of dishonesty. She should have been jailed.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it is a weakness of character which the feminist’s defend so we cannot jail dishonest, spineless criminals who blame it for their misdeeds.

      • Rigthwingnut says:

        huh? On the contrary, feminists seethe at this religious culture that treats women as infants. Mitigation should not depend on gender. If a male or female is psychologically feeble, then they should no longer be entrusted with funds.

  6. SKEPTICAL says:

    Nice comment from the Judge on how little the RCIPS seems to know about the Law relating to ” Proceeds of Criminal Conduct “.

  7. Anonymous says:

    when the politicians get away with theft without consequence, the example is set

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is this not ‘the perfect crime’?

  9. Anonymous says:

    That’ll teach her.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So right 9.05, come and fall for us silver haired Driftwoods instead…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t someone recently go to jail for stealing from their employer (a bank) to pay medical bills for her sick parent? What is the difference? Why did that woman go to jail and this one doesn’t?

  12. Anonymous says:

    maybe when he started being abusive she should have gotten police involved before it got worse and not after the fact she stole money, she needs to grow up an stop blaming someone else for her actions, shes freakin 30 yrs old an clearly not a fit mother.

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘maybe’ she did get the police involved, maybe he was convicted, maybe there are hospital records to prove severe injury. Maybe you have never received grace or mercy, but you will understand when you do.

  13. Just Sayin' says:

    If she was a gay black man she would have been given 50 lashes in Heroes Square and hung on the gallows at Northward.

  14. Ash.lee says:

    Oh shut up! I’m pretty sure that you stole at some point in your life whether it was something of little value or something of great value! HOW MANY STRUGGLING/ABUSED/HOMELESS mothers steal to provide or keep their home “happy”?? Yes it was wrong for her to steal for a dead beat but if you haven’t been in an abusive relationship before then you have NO SAY on how she should be dealt with! People do not know what would happen or what they would do for “love” or “fear” until they are put in a situation that will have them questioning wrong from right because at the moment what we know is wrong might seem so right!

    • Anonymous says:

      Correction honey.
      #1 I have never stolen a thing in my life! NEVER. I may be many things but a thief is not one.
      #2 I’m not sure how many struggling/abused/homeless mothers steal however, IT IS WRONG and ILLEGAL no matter what!
      #3 I have been in a financially abusive relationship where I did not seek help, I let my partner suck my wallet dry HOWEVER, not once did I steal money or valuables from anyone. I sought help and counseling through services available on island. And guess what, I dont have children but if I did there is NO WAY any man would force me to to risk losing my children just for him to be able to jump on some bike and ride off!
      Stop making up excuses for her…she was WRONG 20,000 times over!

      • Anonymous says:

        Put the caps lock down and move away from the keyboard. In the history of the internet no-one has ever made a point better by using capital letters like this.

        • Anonymous says:

          Boo-hoo poor you. Caps Locks are used to suggest that I am shouting my dear, not making a point! Duh!

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol….. obviously you don’t know her. I know Samantha Natasha Brown all too well to know she isn’t innocent.

  15. anon says:

    is the Cayman justice system ever going to hold anyone to account for committing crimes! some little pathetic entitled sob story about the devil, drinking, evil partner, etc etc made me do it – BS, take some responsibility for you pathetic criminal activities, stopping blaming everyone else and grow a back bone and take the deserved punishment ( if handed to you) – people have more respect for those who admit when THEY have failed than blame everything and everyone else. oh and please don’t use the ‘I’ve found god’ as a rebuttal and/ or defence once caught’ its sad and makes you look like a moron!

  16. Anonymous says:

    She stole the first $12,000 to buy the bike for Jarvis, yet he gets to keep the bike as the judge says there is insufficient evidence to show the bike was purchased with the stolen funds.There’s a contradiction here, if the judge accepts the argument the defendant was coerced into the theft to buy the bike, then it follows that Jarvis used the stolen funds to acquire it.
    It is patently ridiculous that this woman gets no jail time and Jarvis keeps the bike – obviously crime pays in this case.
    CNS Note: The judge said there is sufficient evidence its the police who are not pursuing it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then Jarvis should have to prove where he got the funds from to purchase the bike and if he can’t, then is he not handing stolen goods? Furthermore, she has stated that was what the money was used for so Jarvis is equally guilty. But I suppose he some frien-frien of the police officer and that is why nothing more will be done.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Too many cases of women (especially so, as the records will show) stealing from their employers for reasons related to “domestic” situations. Far too many cases of them being let off with a slap on the wrist. If punishment isn’t the answer, what is?

    • Anonymous says:

      Honestly, I can kind of see first offense, non-violent, etc getting little or no jail time(note it’s a suspended sentence, meaning she could still go to jail if she doesn’t hold up her end of the deal), but she really ought to have to pay back all the money.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I believe her story about being pressured by Jason. Does that mean she is justified and should be let off? No.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if alot you “bashers” know, but this person posted this to her facebook to let the world know. She is not running from it, she accepted wrong and the justice dept felt she have learnt and now sees it pointless to have a struggling mother with a no good baby father sit in jail while her kids suffer either with that father or in the courts system with out her for that length of time.

    • Anonymous says:

      She posted it to the world. Once she was caught. Too late.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what about the $20k she stole?!? Recovery of the bike will not compensate. Some ppl are too damn weak minded. There is no way ANY man could influence me to steal for them much less this “peach” she did it for. Furthermore, she was “forced” in to stealing the money not for herself, not for medical reasons, not to help her children but to buy a motorcycle for her abusive baby daddy?!?!? She escaped jail time but now all of Cayman knows she is a thief and is easily duped while her manipulator sits by and watch it all happen. All the readers who will not like my comment THUMBS DOWN/TROLL AWAY IDIOTS!!

    • Anonymous says:

      She updated her FB status – so that makes it ok

    • Anonymous says:

      kids? as in plural?

  20. Anonymous says:

    So the Judge sends her to prison for 2-3 years. During that time who looks after her children? Who provides for her when she gets out and now has a criminal record. The fact that she has proof that it was because of the abuse why she did it is enough for me. This is how justice is done. Now the police needs to seize the bike, sell it and repay as much of the money as they can. People don’t seem to understand what women in abusive relationships go through, especially those in the Cayman Islands where everyone closes their blinds when they hear a woman screaming for her life. The fact that most of the comments on this piece is going to be all about how she should have been sent to prison will tell you all you need to know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Spare the sob story. She is a thief. I feel sorry for children raised by a dishonest thief.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry! Still no reason to steal money to buy a bike for a man and risk losing your job, tarnishing your reputation, potentially face jail time and leave your kids to wallow in sh*t if you are thrown in jail. Don’t chop off your nose to spite your face.

    • Anonymous says:

      Young women!! Note to selves: STOP breeding and falling for deadbeats!! HSA seriously need to consider handing out free birth control.

  21. Anonymous says:

    As an employer and business owner who has suffered thefts from dishonest local staff this sentence disgusts me. Such dishonesty and breach of trust deserves jail time. The sob story is pathetic – did she make a complaint about her partner inciting the crime? Why was he not tried too and jailed? I bet in only came up on sentencing. I strongly encourage the police to investigate him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Theft seems to be accepted as the norm here, whether its stealing from your employer, the employer stealing your pension or bouncing checks all over the island. Its treated as no big ting

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am tired of these thin pathetic excuses being bought by judges to allow criminals to avoid jail. Given the rampant level of employee theft in Cayman this sentence sends completely the wrong message. She deserved a couple of years at least.

  23. Anonymous says:

    cayman courts/justice…….welcome to wonderland…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  24. Anonymous says:

    If I don’t rob my employer soon my wife will not put out Should I blame it on insanity or abuse

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