Cuban woman convicted in $100 bung case

| 17/09/2015 | 26 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courthouse, George Town

(CNS): Paula Yates-Rivers, a 53-year-old Cuban national married to a Caymanian, has become the first non-government official to be charged and convicted of a crime under the anti-corruption law. Yates-Rivers, who works at The Craft Market, was found guilty by Justice Charles Quin Thursday of fraud on government over an attempted $100 bribe following a short judge alone trial earlier this month. Yates-Rivers had tried to give a civil servant dealing with her naturalization application $100 to smooth its passage because she was desperate to travel with her husband to the US for medical treatment after a major car crash.

Although married to a local man since the mid 1990s, Yates-Rivers did not have a British Overseas Territories passport and could not travel to the US on her Cuban one. When she was hurt and her husband badly injured in a car crash a few years ago, despite having poor English skills, which is a barrier to naturalization, Yates-Rivers applied in order to get the BOT passport so she could travel with her husband.

Woman faces corruption charge of $100 bung

Yates-Rivers claimed that the $100 she tried to give to the public servant handling her paperwork was not a bribe but the fee for that passport and said the woman dealing with her application had been mistaken, but the judge was not convinced.

In his ruling Justice Quin said he did not believe Yates-Rivers’ version of events or her explanation in relation to the white unmarked envelope containing cash, which she had given to the civil servant before any discussion about the application had taken place, using the words, “This is for you.”

The judge questioned why the defendant would put $100 in a white envelope for a passport at the start of the process with as much as a year to go before she received one and no guarantee that her application would be granted. He also questioned why Yates-Rivers had called the civil servant the following day and asked her to come to the craft market as she had a present for her.

The civil servant from the deputy governor’s office who had handled the case had made a file note of what she described as a “weird incident” and had reported it to her boss. The judge said she was very clear that she believed the cash was an attempt to bribe her and that “the defendant’s actions were clear and deliberate”, especially as Yates-Rivers had tried to hand over the envelope numerous times.

Justice Quin said the civil servant was a “reliable, experienced professional” who had given clear and accurate evidence when in court, as he rejected the defendant’s account of what had happened. The judge said the crown had satisfied him that Yates-Rivers was guilty of fraud.

The judge described the case as a tragic one. Given the circumstances relating to the major accident, the woman had suffered, especially with the subsequent injuries to her husband, who is now entirely dependent on his wife, and the judge said he required a social enquiry report to help inform his sentencing decision.

Defence attorney for Yates-Rivers, Laurence Aoilfi of Samson and McGrath, said that, given the details of the case and level of offending, a community sentence rather than a custodial one would be in order.

The judge said he did not want to comment on the possible sentencing options but bailed Yates-Rivers until 12 November to allow time for the social enquiry to be completed, and said discussions regarding the appropriate sentence could be aired then.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (26)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    maybe the DPP got the cases mixed up

  2. Anonymous says:

    She did not leave the island soon enough. Right Sue?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Poor lady cat and dog don’t have the same luck I agree community service is appropriate but don’t forget everytime a boat full of Cubans enters our waters we either send them back home or send them on their way without water or food but yet we go to Cuba everyday and they hold no hard feelings

  4. Anonymous says:

    So the NBF is ok, using your government credit card in slot machines is ok, using government cash to pave your voters’ driveways is ok, filling your family’s private vehicles and jet skis with a government card is not even worth investigating, BUT try to slip someone $100 when you are desperate for medical treatment and you will feel the full force of the law? Or is it because she was Cuban and most of the univestigated corruption here is perpetrated by Caymanians?

  5. Anonymous says:

    “The Cayman Islands are steeped in corruption.” Charged and convicted for a $100 misunderstanding, but a no need to prosecute for a glaring $300,000 theft.

    What say you Alden? “Treason!” SMDH

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can we just point out here that this woman is convicted of trying to GIVE someone $100 of her own money (yea yea, bribery is illegal, no one here EVER takes money to “get stuff done”), yet those with names of a much more well-known sort, who have been brought to question over several thousands of dollars which have gone MISSING, been MISAPPROPRIATED or outright STOLEN, have been allowed to simply walk away…seems legit.

    Job well done guys – this is what we call justice I guess.

  7. Hard wuking CS says:

    Their Mr Judge please Jail this woman and make an example out her for being so friggin cheap! Next time she will know better ?

  8. Anonymous says:

    We charge someone over a $100.00 bribe but let someone who stole $300k walk free. What an absolute disgrace!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Bribery is illegal. Even when it is a paltry $100 in a desperate attempt to help an injured relative. It is gambling out the country’s money with which you are entrusted that is okay by law. I once witnessed a poor Jamaican Lady pass out on the floor in the immigration offices when she was told she could not get a further extension and sorry but the $100 fee she had paid to apply was dead. Yet we continue to ask and expect Almighty God to bless our beautiful country.

  9. Rp says:

    If she stole 300k from the elderly, she would have gone home free. But 100 dollar bribe is completely unacceptable!

  10. Just Sayin' says:

    The real crime here was the size of the bribe offered. If she had gone to $1000 it would have been accepted and everyone would have lived happily ever after.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So they pull out all the big guns over 100.00, but can’t be bothered to extradite someone who allegedly stole from people who can’t even look after themselves. I wonder how my employer would view it if I stole from them, paid back the money with interest and fled to parts known. I am sure that they would want to make an example out of me. Make sure that it is a deterrent and make sure that other employers on Island know the kind of person that I am.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is absolutely INSANE!!!! People in this Island are committing crimes LEFT RIGHT AND CENTER and the one that goes to court under ALLEGED CORRUPTION is the woman who hardly understands english??!!! are you serious ??!!! Did you ever stop and think that indeed she DID think she was paying for the passport??? And so what if the clerk was invited to the craft market the following day??!!! Its called being NICE … It is a friendly gesture! Where is the crime in that?! Guarantee you if she had been invited to a fancy dinner at the Ritz by someone else she would jump on the opportunity. SAD and SHAMEFUL is what this is.
    CAYMAN WAKE UP!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bung??

  14. Anonymous says:

    She must be thought she was in Cuba where $100 CI is normally a 2 – 4 months salary.

    Given the circumstances of her case, I think a community service order would be appropriate. If the DPP and Baines allowed a UK woman to get away with an alleged $300,000 CI theft from the Pines Retirement Home; then why severely punish a Cuban woman for $100 CI who was trying to seek medical attention overseas.

    Maybe if she got to Miami, she may have stayed there and not been a burden on the C.I. Social Services Dept which is probably the case at the moment.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And the real criminals go free.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Deportation order? Bribery should be viewed as an extremely serious offence.

  17. Double Standards. says:

    What a disgraced. $100.00 which may be very well a misunderstanding , guilty, guilty, guilty. Having a family member paid $300K the nice lady allegedly stole from the elderly home not a problem, enjoy you life in sunny old England. Shame, shame!??

    • Anonymous says:

      these are two different case with two different sets of facts. Yes i agree the pines case was handled wrong and is a disgrace to justice. but that has no bearing on this case.

      They are separate cases remark on them in the related article.

      Because “she ” got away with something does not mean “I” can get away with anything!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Sure are different cases, however: “”Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”

        • Anonymous says:

          So, what do you suggest Justice Henderson should have done? Ignore the facts as presented to him in court, abandon his personal integrity and years of making fair decisions and find her “not guilty” just because of a recent unrelated case that never even came to court?

    • Anonymous says:

      I could not agree with you more. Leave $100.00 in an envelope that you intended to be used to pay for your passport ………….Corruption.
      Pay off $300K to the victim to have the OPP turn a blind eye to your wife’s theft. ………Nothing to see here folks, no corruption.

      One from Cuba and can hardly speak English……..The other from England and speaks perfect Queens English. Guess who could get jail time.

      The police, the OPP and judicial system must be so proud of themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      My thoughts exactly. So it’s ok because the white woman paid it back. But it is not ok because the Spanish lady barely speaks English?

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